Can you imagine selling this idea to the decision makers... It was an extensive project that bottlenecked and slowed automobile traffic and welcomed pedestrians with water courses, seating areas and places of repose in a main street environment.
In 2003, our friend Dr. Jacob A. Wagner, Professor in the UMKC-Architecture and Urban Planning Department (who worked with Rocha and who provided these photos) wrote, "The Politics of Urban Design: In contrast to other urban renewal projects that erased the presence of minority and workingclass residents, the design of the Center City Plaza in downtown Kansas City, Kansas was an attempt to provide a democratic space for a diverse citizenry. Initiated by local officials, the project was intended to alter the "image" of the downtown. Environmental planner Elpidio Rocha was hired to design a pedestrian mall that included abstract sculptural forms. In the context of deindustrialization and suburbanization, however, urban renewal did not halt downtown decline and local political interests dismantled the pedestrian mall, setting the stage for a new round of redevelopment."