USC Annenberg students and faculty team up with Leimert Park to repurpose the payphone

The Los Angeles Times featured a new project that USC Annenberg and the artists and community leaders of Leimert Park have started to revive the cultural history of the area.

The Leimert Phone Co., which resulted from a research lab led by USC Annenberg Francois Bar and PhD candidates Benjamin Stokes and Karl Baumann, is a “participatory design project [that] aims to re-invent the payphone as a portal to the local culture and history” in Leimert Park.

Over the course of five weeks, three teams, made up of USC students and Leimert Park artists, looked at how the outdated payphone could be repurposed to reinforce Leimert Park’s cultural roots. Everything from restaurant recommendations to motion-activated Wi-Fi was considered.

According to website for the Leimert Phone Co., the hope is that “this collaborative project could be a model for how communities around Los Angeles can bridge the physical and digital, bringing social issues and gentrification into public space and still promoting sustainable development.”

Earlier this month, the prototypes were brought to the Leimert Park Business Improvement District to discuss the continuation of the project.