In this interview with Janet Marie Smith, EVP of Planning and Development for the Dodgers, Janet Marie offers urban planning context for the evolution of Dodger Stadium over the past 11 years guided by Stan Kasten’s original challenge to her: to create a place where all 56,000 fans may enjoy a pregame celebration, linger, find food, and have kids run around. Smith also discusses her U.S. & global stadium projects, comparing insightful differences in planning British football venues with U.S.-based work, emphasizing the unique aspects of baseball’s casual cadence. Looking towards the future of stadium planning, Smith also introduces her new development firm – the Canopy Team, promising a continued focus on integrating sports venues into urban development, including an emphasis on flexibility of developments and multiple uses beyond sporting events.
TPR: Janet, by all accounts –fans, sports media, media executives, and design critics– you have accomplished the mission Stan Kasten originally gave you. Now, with the pandemic largely behind us and a new Dodger Stadium Centerfield Plaza firmly established as the New Front Door, the Dodgers have announced over the off season three star acquisitions of international interest. How will growing fan support for the Dodgers impact your future work at the stadium?
Janet Marie Smith: The work that’s been completed over the last 11 years under Stan Kasten’s leadership, as President and CEO, has prepared us for this larger international stage. Our focus remains on creating more spaces for fans, and better facilities for players, always with a design nod to mid-century modern 1962 Dodger Stadium and its beautiful parklike backdrop. Our continued use of multiple languages in signage and the way we present ourselves are meant to make certain that players and fans from a broad cross-section of life feel like this is their baseball home.