A Private developer has taken initiative to regenerate the city of St Louis. This project encompasses urban renewal, land renewal and social renewal. Northside St Louis (the heart of downtown St Louis) features extreme urban and social decline. In 350 city blocks only 1000 people live. This city has experienced extraordinary population loss and neglect, with buildings abandoned, collapsing and lots vacant. Low Education, low health, unemployment and crime are a massive problem. This has become a dangerous neighbourhood.
A private developer purchased a vast quantity of vacant and derelict land around St Louis from landholders. He then employed a landscape architect to create a new vision for the city. This vision was presented to Local & State governments to gain support and funding.
This project has been achieved through the unifying of small parcels of land into one unifying scheme. The result is an urban scale regeneration solution.
The team developing this project recognise the need for social renewal as well as urban renewal if this project is going to have the successful outcome desired.
1. Green Network
A green network lies at the core of the project, with the philosophy being enrichment of life and pride of place facilitating social change. Green space will be increased 5 fold through the provision of green streets, parks and greenspaces. Greenspaces will be spread across the entire site, providing amenity and pride of place among residential buildings, and also providing safe journey between work and home. This network will also work to provide water filtration and flood mitigation.
Educations programs are incorporated into the project providing programs for all ages, rehabilitation of existing schools and new job training centres.
Current unemployment issues require addressing. The intension is to preserve current jobs, create short-term jobs, create long-term jobs, facilitate social equity and to plan for new ‘clean’ industry for the area.
A new safe transportation system is to be devised between commercial, residential and retail precincts.
5. Clean Energy
The project calls for clean, reliable energy and the upgrade of existing infrastructure. The aim is a green approach to the city to attract ‘clean’ industry and become an example of efficient sustainable development. Included are biomass, solar, wind and hydro united under a cogenerative network and smart-grid.
The project calls for the importance in fostering a healthy community with the incorporation of a new health care facility in the project.
7. Collaborative Leadership
Inclusive strategies for management, job training, employment and governance are also included.
The project aims to include measurable objectives for each part of the program so that its progress can be studied over time. These include: income, school drop-out rates, employment, energy costs to citizens, walkability, services upkeep, greenspaces, crime rates etc.
The plan for the new city has been designed around 4 major nodes of intense development. These nodes are located within existing amenity. The aim is for these nodes to then act as a trigger for the spread of renewal outwards.
The project will include:
10,000 new dwellings will be built including low and mid income mix.
3.5million sqm of office and 1million sqm of retail
Police, fire, community centres, renovate existing schools and 1 healthcare centre.
Redirecting existing projects
This greater plan has seen some smaller government projects changed to fit within this greater vision for the city.
Challenges and Opportunities
This is a large scale regeneration project and as such requires significant financial input for its success, including support from local and state governments. It is proposed that part of the ongoing costs of this project will be raised through tax measures.
This project will require sensitivity and support of the community. With ownership of such a large portion of the city, this developer has significant control over the new direction of the city. The success of this project will rely on the sensitivity of the design solution in relationship to the needs of the inhabitants. There are some locals critical of the lack of transparency and consultation of the developer in the purchasing of land early on in this project. The developer waited until such time as the land they accrued could offer the change required before addressing the community as a whole. This, and tax incentives sought by the developer, has some locals querying the developer’s integrity.1
This project has great opportunity for reconsidering the city. The location and size of city lots and the redistribution of greenspace can be reconsidered in ways that other cities are unable to achieve.