They could seek funds to revive the campaign to improve the murky lighting design on the exterior of Disney Hall, or more ambitiously to rescue Gehry's original plan to project video images of live concerts on the hall's facades.
They could ask Broad to help fund an effort to commission artists and under-employed architects to design pavilions or temporary installations both in the new civic park and filling portions of the Grand Avenue development where construction is stalled.
These could be closer in cost and spirit to recent installations at the Coachella music festival — where the L.A. firm Ball-Nogues Studio produced an informal illuminated structure last year for roughly $15,000 — than, say, artist Anish Kapoor's silvery "bean" sculpture at Millennium Park in Chicago, which cost a reported $23 million. The first batch might even be designed by whatever architecture firm Broad picks for the museum project.
They could, finally, ask architects and designers for ideas that would help promote a flow of pedestrian and bike traffic between Bunker Hill and the rest of downtown. This could be as simple as a signage and wayfinding campaign by a team of artists and graphic designers or as complex, should funding ever allow, as some high-design combination of people-mover and funicular — an Angel's Flight designed by a contemporary artist or architect, and something of a downtown answer to the hanging train Jeff Koons and Michael Govan are planning for LACMA.
Downtown needs innovative thinking on the subjects of mobility and civic identity, after all, a good deal more than it needs additional — and immovable — monuments.
Nobody can reasonably blame Broad for attaching strings to his philanthropy. What we continue to lack in Los Angeles, though, is a productive discussion about precisely what happens in the spots where private money meets public realm.
Approached the right way, negotiations about the Broad museum could begin to remedy that. Otherwise, we'll find ourselves looking around for yet another parking lot with all kinds of potential.