Farmscaping Pruitt Igoe

The design competition caught our attention because it continues on a project that has built an international reputation. This could take place because the spatial interventions were used to fight against both spatial as social problems from full conviction. Unfortunately the area is barely used now and referred to as an example area that showed that original Modern architecture couldn’t offer a total solution. As the problems of Pruitt Igoe and Northside St. Louis have developed, another opportunity has now risen to respond to both spatial and social problems from architectural and urban design interventions. We think it is important to raise the awareness of the past of Pruitt Igoe and of the opportunities that are present in the whole Northside St. Louis area.

Awareness of the past needs to be done from a current approach: sustainable redevelopment of the area. Next to creating local ecological cycles and sustainable architecture, our main focus in the redevelopment is urban farming. Modern architecture was seen as the urban design catalyst for the recovery of spatial and social problems. We believe that urban farming is an important part of the solution for current problems in Northside St. Louis. We believe that urban farming can solve some of the current problems in the Northside area, generating jobs and redeveloping plots.

The redevelopment makes Pruitt Igoe an area where residents are informed and activated about progressing in dealing with sustainability. The localization of the sustainability process needs to be developed by a cooperation of the municipality, private investors, the Gateway Middle school, local inhabitants and other visitors. In this way Pruitt Igoe will resurrect as an area where the redevelopment can lead to innovation in the whole city.

Robin Pasman is an urban designer in the Netherlands. Marcel Burg is an urban designer with studio Marcel Burg in the Netherlands.