“I thought that it would be really great to put a small group of designers and planners together to start to change the face of Los Angeles. I saw how much of an impact just a few people could have on the development of a city and what that city looked like.”
Lauren Melendrez began her career as a landscape architect working in the City of Los Angeles Planning Department. She began seeing a need to change the appearance of downtown Los Angeles. As Founder of Melendrez and Associates in Los Angeles, her focus was creating livable public spaces with awareness of pedestrian safety, one design at a time. To see this design process succeed, Ms. Melendrez has been directly involved with federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; commissions; advisory committees; and community groups. Because of her extensive knowledge of urban design issues, Melendrez has been appointed to many boards, task forces, and committees to address development of related policies within the Los Angeles region.
One of her best-known projects is the Staples Center in the South Park area of Los Angeles. There, Ms. Melendrez used landscape and hardscape to make the space inviting, beautiful and safe. She also helped create the Metro Gold Line project, designing safe and eye-catching spaces for the 13 Metro Stations between Los Angeles and Pasadena. At the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters in downtown, Melendrez & Associates designed a park-like setting of benches, trees, plants and installed a striking series of sculptural barriers.
Ms. Melendrez holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University Pomona, where she was the only woman in her class. She has received many awards. One of her favorites is a necklace and hand-painted banner from the Ninth Street Elementary School students in downtown Los Angeles for helping beautify their campus.
“When you’re doing landscape architecture in the public realm, it is a different ballgame. You need to have partnerships with elected officials, with the city departments, and they need to know you. Lauren has been one of the pioneers in making those connections, so that you can affect policy change.”
Environmental Landscape Commissioner, Los Angeles
Co-Founder of LANI