+StL GROWING AN URBAN MOSAIC
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Project
Urban Design, Landscape Masterplan

Client
Great Rivers Greenways and Partners

Size
80 linear km / 50 linear mi

Collaborators
TLS Landscape Architecture + [dhd] Derek Hoeferlin Design + Kristin Fleischmann Brewer + Bryan Cave Llp + Amanda Colón-Smith + Econsult Solutions + Edesign Dynamics + Edsi + Jeremy Goss + Langan + James Lima Planning And Development + Sal Martinez + Preservation Research Office + Project Controls Group + Prosperity Labs + Jason Purnell + Ramboll + Linda Samuels + Paola Aguirre Serrano + Silman + Terra Technologies

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  CONCEPT  The +StL Greenway project is designed to amplify the existing assets of St. Louis while taking powerful measures to address the multitude of challenges the city is facing. To do this, we propose a layered strategy with three primary components: Ecological Loops, Equitable Extensions, and Economic Assets : we call them the three E’s. Combined, these 3 E’s address opportunities for economic development and access, performative landscape ecology, and equitable access to jobs, institutions, education, and public space. 

CONCEPT
The +StL Greenway project is designed to amplify the existing assets of St. Louis while taking powerful measures to address the multitude of challenges the city is facing. To do this, we propose a layered strategy with three primary components: Ecological Loops, Equitable Extensions, and Economic Assets : we call them the three E’s. Combined, these 3 E’s address opportunities for economic development and access, performative landscape ecology, and equitable access to jobs, institutions, education, and public space. 

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The overall project reinforces what is already strong in St. Louis while bridging divisions and stimulating new seeds of growth in areas that need further investment. The resultant + figure boldly joins North and South at the central East West corridor - we firmly believe that the greenway must extend at least as far North and South as it does East and West while providing an armature for future projects by Great Rivers Greenway, Trailnet, and others to plug into to further connect the project to the communities of St. Louis and beyond. Through this armature we grow a new urban mosaic for St. Louis, built on unique cultural identities, histories revealed, shared ambitions, and a new connective and productive Greenway.

 +StL Overall Greenway Plan

+StL Overall Greenway Plan

 Aerial Perspective from the Mississippi

Aerial Perspective from the Mississippi

  A PERFORMATIVE HYDRODYNAMIC LANDSCAPE  As a performative landscape, our +StL Greenway integrates stormwater management for a healthier Mississippi River. St. Louis uses a combined sewer system, meaning in high rain fall events, the city’s water treatment plant cannot keep up with the amount of water coming into it. As a result, the city must by pass the treatment plant and pump untreated stormwater and sewer water directly into the Mississippi. Our proposal mitigates the need to do so by collecting urban rain water runoff in the Mill Creek Valley and passively treating it in a series of woodland streams and wetlands.

A PERFORMATIVE HYDRODYNAMIC LANDSCAPE
As a performative landscape, our +StL Greenway integrates stormwater management for a healthier Mississippi River. St. Louis uses a combined sewer system, meaning in high rain fall events, the city’s water treatment plant cannot keep up with the amount of water coming into it. As a result, the city must by pass the treatment plant and pump untreated stormwater and sewer water directly into the Mississippi. Our proposal mitigates the need to do so by collecting urban rain water runoff in the Mill Creek Valley and passively treating it in a series of woodland streams and wetlands.

 Hydrodynamic Section Perspective at Railyard

Hydrodynamic Section Perspective at Railyard

 Hydrodynamic Section Perspective at Laclede Avenue

Hydrodynamic Section Perspective at Laclede Avenue

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 Plan at Wetland Park and stormwater filtration zone

Plan at Wetland Park and stormwater filtration zone

 Wetland Park during Summer

Wetland Park during Summer

 Wetland Park during Winter

Wetland Park during Winter

  FOUNDRY TRESTLE  The trestle and rail tracks leading to the Foundry provide not only an exciting means for crossing Vandeventer and connecting to the Cortex MetroLink Station, but it is also an opportunity to show how industrial infrastructure can be re-appropriated with environmental performance. The green areas surrounding the pathways are permeable surfaces meant to absorb storm water runoff and treat pollutants with biofilitration. Given the site’s iconic visual appeal we also think it can be the perfect signboard for Great Rivers Greenway’s environmental, adaptive reuse, and ecological initiatives. The existing billboard on the site can be “recycled” as a habitat for high flying birds of prey. The billboard’s high visibility will project the environmental mission of the project on a monumental scale - without a single word. Historic photos of the site could be studied and rail tracks could be restored as partial cast in place sculptures. A stair to ground level is integrated with a bridge over the trestle leading to a stair that climbs the billboard to scenic overlook at the new + StL Greenway.

FOUNDRY TRESTLE
The trestle and rail tracks leading to the Foundry provide not only an exciting means for crossing Vandeventer and connecting to the Cortex MetroLink Station, but it is also an opportunity to show how industrial infrastructure can be re-appropriated with environmental performance. The green areas surrounding the pathways are permeable surfaces meant to absorb storm water runoff and treat pollutants with biofilitration. Given the site’s iconic visual appeal we also think it can be the perfect signboard for Great Rivers Greenway’s environmental, adaptive reuse, and ecological initiatives. The existing billboard on the site can be “recycled” as a habitat for high flying birds of prey. The billboard’s high visibility will project the environmental mission of the project on a monumental scale - without a single word. Historic photos of the site could be studied and rail tracks could be restored as partial cast in place sculptures. A stair to ground level is integrated with a bridge over the trestle leading to a stair that climbs the billboard to scenic overlook at the new + StL Greenway.

  MARKET AND FOREST PARK  Integrating Market Street and Forest Park Boulevard as a continuous Great Street. Rather than treating these two streets as separate on and off ramps for I-64/Highway 40 we propose integrating them as a grand boulevard in the city. Connecting these two streets will have a profound affect on generating a culture of urban street life. Three of the on/off ramps can be decommissioned with minimal impacts to traffic and converted into bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways that connect to the Greenways North and South. In the space between these pieces of infrastructure, we propose a one-of-a-kind Archeology and History Museum. There could not be a more powerful site to explore the deep history of St. Louis than at the Highway and the Mill Creek Valley Urban Removal Project. Artifacts and building remains could be collected, studied, and displayed together with work by contemporary artists and writers in St. Louis. Located adjacent to Saint Louis and Harris-Stowe Universities, we imagine temporary and permanent exhibitions. The work of Damon Davis, a black St. Louis based artist, is currently shown in one of the courtyards, and Hiwa K an Iraqi immigrant working in St. Louis is shown in the other.  Rather than infrastructure that divides, we propose a space that brings people and ideas together for display and debate.

MARKET AND FOREST PARK
Integrating Market Street and Forest Park Boulevard as a continuous Great Street. Rather than treating these two streets as separate on and off ramps for I-64/Highway 40 we propose integrating them as a grand boulevard in the city. Connecting these two streets will have a profound affect on generating a culture of urban street life. Three of the on/off ramps can be decommissioned with minimal impacts to traffic and converted into bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways that connect to the Greenways North and South. In the space between these pieces of infrastructure, we propose a one-of-a-kind Archeology and History Museum. There could not be a more powerful site to explore the deep history of St. Louis than at the Highway and the Mill Creek Valley Urban Removal Project. Artifacts and building remains could be collected, studied, and displayed together with work by contemporary artists and writers in St. Louis. Located adjacent to Saint Louis and Harris-Stowe Universities, we imagine temporary and permanent exhibitions. The work of Damon Davis, a black St. Louis based artist, is currently shown in one of the courtyards, and Hiwa K an Iraqi immigrant working in St. Louis is shown in the other.  Rather than infrastructure that divides, we propose a space that brings people and ideas together for display and debate.

 Plan at Market and Forest Park

Plan at Market and Forest Park

  FOREST PARK GATEWAY   Forest Park deserves a grand and dramatic entrance from the city, at the same time, the narrow bridge crossing I-64/Highway 40 to the growing Grove neighborhood should be replaced with a much more generous space for pedestrians and cyclists. As an underpass, the gateway can be a source of security and safety for the park and immediate vicinity. The underpass should cross beneath Kingshighway to allow for seamless gradual crossings safe for cyclists and wheelchair users alike. The underground spaces adjacent to the underpass are large enough to incorporate a visitor’s center, a ranger station, a first aid clinic, and a refreshment shop for use and public safety within the underpass and at the South East corner of the park and Clayton Avenue at all hours.

FOREST PARK GATEWAY
Forest Park deserves a grand and dramatic entrance from the city, at the same time, the narrow bridge crossing I-64/Highway 40 to the growing Grove neighborhood should be replaced with a much more generous space for pedestrians and cyclists. As an underpass, the gateway can be a source of security and safety for the park and immediate vicinity. The underpass should cross beneath Kingshighway to allow for seamless gradual crossings safe for cyclists and wheelchair users alike. The underground spaces adjacent to the underpass are large enough to incorporate a visitor’s center, a ranger station, a first aid clinic, and a refreshment shop for use and public safety within the underpass and at the South East corner of the park and Clayton Avenue at all hours.

 Plan at Forest Park Gateway

Plan at Forest Park Gateway

  PROSPECT YARDS BRIDGE AND RAILYARD OVERLOOK  The Prospect Yards Bridge and Railyard Overlook creates a vital connection between the East-West Greenway adjacent to the MetroLink line between Cortex and Grand stations and the Greenway running adjacent to the Union Pacific Freight Rail line that ends at Chouteau’s Landing. Reconnecting Spring Street creates not only a pedestrian and bicycle route between St. Louis University’s North and South Campuses under and over I-64, but a spectacular overlook that celebrates the presence of the railyard with a view of the Gateway Arch beyond. The Spring Street bridge also allows the Greenway to extend South through the Shaw neighborhood to loop together all four parks with Tower Grove Park as its largest Southern anchor.

PROSPECT YARDS BRIDGE AND RAILYARD OVERLOOK
The Prospect Yards Bridge and Railyard Overlook creates a vital connection between the East-West Greenway adjacent to the MetroLink line between Cortex and Grand stations and the Greenway running adjacent to the Union Pacific Freight Rail line that ends at Chouteau’s Landing. Reconnecting Spring Street creates not only a pedestrian and bicycle route between St. Louis University’s North and South Campuses under and over I-64, but a spectacular overlook that celebrates the presence of the railyard with a view of the Gateway Arch beyond. The Spring Street bridge also allows the Greenway to extend South through the Shaw neighborhood to loop together all four parks with Tower Grove Park as its largest Southern anchor.

  INTEGRATING INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECOLOGY  St. Louis was built on industry, much of which is still operating today. Rather than relocating or removing this industrial heritage, we propose embracing it and integrating ecological habitats, pathways, and recreational experiences with artifacts of industry. Not only is this pragmatic and cost effective, it is also healthier for the surrounding city. Increased tree canopy will buffer the diesel emissions from train engines, improve air quality, and create shaded environments for recreation. Activating and illuminating these spaces at night will create safe routes for walking, cycling, commuting, community groups, and local neighborhood residents. Rather than treating the railyard valley as “back” of St. Louis, we propose making it a new “front” for engagement and experience. In this space, recently named “Prospect Yards”, a new pedestrian bridge overlooks the railyard at Spring Street and connects St. Louis University’s North and South Campuses, the Foundry, Armory, and the Greenway from the Cortex MetroLink Station to the Grand MetroLink Station.

INTEGRATING INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECOLOGY
St. Louis was built on industry, much of which is still operating today. Rather than relocating or removing this industrial heritage, we propose embracing it and integrating ecological habitats, pathways, and recreational experiences with artifacts of industry. Not only is this pragmatic and cost effective, it is also healthier for the surrounding city. Increased tree canopy will buffer the diesel emissions from train engines, improve air quality, and create shaded environments for recreation. Activating and illuminating these spaces at night will create safe routes for walking, cycling, commuting, community groups, and local neighborhood residents. Rather than treating the railyard valley as “back” of St. Louis, we propose making it a new “front” for engagement and experience. In this space, recently named “Prospect Yards”, a new pedestrian bridge overlooks the railyard at Spring Street and connects St. Louis University’s North and South Campuses, the Foundry, Armory, and the Greenway from the Cortex MetroLink Station to the Grand MetroLink Station.

 Plan at Prospect Bridge and Overlook

Plan at Prospect Bridge and Overlook

  MACARTHUR OVERLOOK AT CHOUTEAU'S LANDING  The MacArthur Bridge used to have an upper deck with a roadway. While most of this roadway structure has been removed, a significant amount still exists. The road gradually slopes up from 7th Street at Gratiot Street near the Wetland Bird Park and the Eastern end of the Southern East West Greenway along the railyard. The gradual slope is ideal for a bicycle and pedestrian pathway leading to a dramatic Mississippi River overlook. The existing warehouse buildings can be reused for housing and galleries as well as new residential buildings and development. The overlook can host festivals and events while providing access to a lightweight bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the Mississippi River to the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.

MACARTHUR OVERLOOK AT CHOUTEAU'S LANDING
The MacArthur Bridge used to have an upper deck with a roadway. While most of this roadway structure has been removed, a significant amount still exists. The road gradually slopes up from 7th Street at Gratiot Street near the Wetland Bird Park and the Eastern end of the Southern East West Greenway along the railyard. The gradual slope is ideal for a bicycle and pedestrian pathway leading to a dramatic Mississippi River overlook. The existing warehouse buildings can be reused for housing and galleries as well as new residential buildings and development. The overlook can host festivals and events while providing access to a lightweight bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the Mississippi River to the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.

OT MacArthur Overlook Section
OT MacArthur Overlook
  ENGAGING THE MISSISSIPPI AT CHOUTEAU'S LANDING  As cities throughout America realign themselves with their waterfronts, the Mississippi River continues to remain underutilized in St. Louis. By changing the flood wall into a terraced levee, the historic waterfront warehouse district at Chouteau’s Landing adjacent to the Gateway Arch could become a new live/work and affordable housing district in St. Louis. The result could stimulate a return to downtown living and grow the downtown economy. We imagine hidden kitchens, artist in residence housing, hotels, parks, gardens, barbecues, an urban beach, and eventually, a public swimming pool overlooking the river all connecting to Great Rivers Greenway’s new riverfront trail while encouraging new adventures in the Mississippi.

ENGAGING THE MISSISSIPPI AT CHOUTEAU'S LANDING
As cities throughout America realign themselves with their waterfronts, the Mississippi River continues to remain underutilized in St. Louis. By changing the flood wall into a terraced levee, the historic waterfront warehouse district at Chouteau’s Landing adjacent to the Gateway Arch could become a new live/work and affordable housing district in St. Louis. The result could stimulate a return to downtown living and grow the downtown economy. We imagine hidden kitchens, artist in residence housing, hotels, parks, gardens, barbecues, an urban beach, and eventually, a public swimming pool overlooking the river all connecting to Great Rivers Greenway’s new riverfront trail while encouraging new adventures in the Mississippi.