Community happens. It is an internal process of people organizing themselves according to desires and needs. It happens when individuals connect, create, work, and grow together.
A lack of community, not simply design flaws, caused Pruitt-Igoe to fail. The history of the project teaches that building community cannot be brought about solely by exterior forces, or by the virtues of design. The site today stands as an urban void partially reclaimed by nature. This hints at the untapped potential of the site beneath, waiting to be reclaimed.
Urbanists, architects, and landscape architects are not social engineers. Our project sets out to frame a space that people can claim for themselves. We propose a plan based on a simple concept: create a visible platform where entrepreneurs, investors, organizations, and individuals have a chance to organize, create, and do. As designers we offer a framework and implement seed projects to catalyze the process.
Our plan is a process of re-colonization based on the qualities that we believe the original Pruitt-Igoe lacked: a focus on public space, green spaces, and places for people to meet, start businesses, be creative, play, and learn.
“The strip” begins as an empty paved lot, with parking, lighting, and the basic fundamentals. This flexible base evolves to suit needs and interests. Two crucial seed projects, an urban farm and a community center with sports facilities, create a chain reaction of interest and an accumulation of enterprises.
The strip is an anti-design. We cannot know how the planted seeds will grow, but we envision positive outcomes based on the creativity, initiatives, and hard work of St. Louis residents.