Abandonment North St. Louis Old North Planning

Sustainable Land Lab Competition First Phase Submission Due December 10

Led by Washington University in St. Louis, the Sustainable Land Lab kicked off with an event on Friday, November 2 at the Contemporary Art Museum. (By the way, Ron Sims’ moving talk from the kick-off is now available on the website as a podcast.) The Sustainable Land Lab picks up the intellectual threads of GOOD Ideas for Cities and Pruitt Igoe Now and attempts to weave a program in which innovative urban land use projects are implements on vacant parcels in Old North — a neighborhood where experimenting with the urban condition is welcome.

Sustainable Land Lab is focused on implementation: teams that win will get land and money, and the chance to make things actually happen. Preservation Research Office is delighted to advise the competition and help teams with our knowledge of Old North and urban abandonment.

The first round of submissions is due December 10, so there is not much time to create your concept. Get details here and join in an amazing and spirited experiment.

One reply on “Sustainable Land Lab Competition First Phase Submission Due December 10”

While it is commendable to be concerned about the status of vacant lots and try to improve them, what is really needed is a sustainable city plan. Reusing vacant lots to rebuild infrastructure, transit, public spaces, parks and to create density and a walkable city should be the priority. Now is the time to develop those visions of St. Louis for the coming century. Taking a piecemeal approach, again while creative and interesting, is counterproductive and a missed opportunity.
In some ways the competition mirrors the failure of Paul McKee and the City of St. Louis as they allow McKee to piecemeal North St. Louis in his lust for money, irregardless of its impact on the future of the city. There are still no comprehensive proposals for revival of the northside and its role in the rebirth of the city.
The difference here is that sustainable vacant lots, as models for other vacant lot development while a more noble undertaking, still short changes the broader needs of the city which will define new uses of vacant land as part of a greater vision.
In fact the whole sustainable grant effort falls short. I looked at their report, it says the right things in a general sense, but I guess it is too much to specifically challenge conventional thinking that has choked this city for so long.

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