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Prairie | City

Independent Study (spring 2015)

Washington University in St. Louis

Advisors:     Doug Ladd; Dr. Rod Barnett

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Prairie | City is an eco-urban spatial study that extrapolates from GIS mapping analysis to explore the terms under which native tallgrass prairie might co-exist within, rather than in opposition to, urban spatial forms.  

Creating the anchors and corridors for an urban prairie matrix enlists existing spatial forms such as green streets and alleys as strong corridors through commercial areas, and railway and freeway right-of-ways to cross neighborhoods. It provides the opportunity to incorporate stormwater management and recreation into green byways. And it requires confronting the challenges of discontinuities wrought by existing hardscape and infrastructural/transportation corridors.


Ultimately, the disturbances/dynamic shifts of embedding an anchor into vacancy begins to provoke the conversation of how public and private land might meet in persistent forms — green transportation corridors, community gardens, pocket parks, neighborhoods — across yards, commons, and natural areas, from the parcel to the neighborhood to the city.

st louis native prairie extent overlaid with publicly-accessible space + publicly-owned parcels


patches + circuitry

Prairie City_Alisa_sm 1a spatial qualiti


anchor sites + corridors

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anchor sites + corridors

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north st louis proposed anchor + connector sites,

neighborhood scale, the ville

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development of grouped patches + network circuitry

(top row, left to right) north st louis public open space + vacant parcels, with flood plain exclusion; north st louis anchor + connector sites; (bottom row, left to right) north st louis proposed anchor sites; north st louis proposed anchor + connector sites

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