The Chouteau Greenway plan calls for a unique greenway through the heart of St. Louis, Missouri. In yet another great example of the 3Re Strategy (repurpose, renew, reconnect) in action, the city hopes to revitalize (finally) by repurposing and renewing land into a system of greenways that reconnect Washington University and Forest Park all the way to Downtown and the Gateway Arch with connections to neighborhoods north and south
In the first week of 2018, Great Rivers Greenway and its partners held two meetings with residents of the region, to give them the opportunity to meet the four finalist project teams and learn more about their qualifications to design this grand revitalization initiative.
Great Rivers Greenway recently finished the first stage in the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition process. The four selected teams will officially begin working on their respective conceptual plans in early January after receiving a full briefing on the project’s goals, challenges and opportunities.
Great Rivers Greenway and partners received a total of 19 team qualifications submittals for the first stage of the competition. A jury, comprising nine local and international experts, reviewed all submissions and recommended the four winning teams. A total of 124 firms from seven countries and 13 U.S. states made up the team submissions, with 44 of the firms being local to the St. Louis region. Teams represent the disciplines of urban planning, economics, cultural programming, art, sustainability, Universal Design, landscape architecture, architecture, civil and structural engineering, hydrology, open space programming, acoustics, lighting and traffic engineering.
The second stage of the competition will require the teams to prepare conceptual designs for the Chouteau Greenway that address the design and experience of the greenway, while also addressing the economic development and equity issues in the region. All four teams chosen include local St. Louis team members, and are as follows:
- James Corner Field Operations in association with [dtls], WSP, HR & A Advisors, Lord Cultural Resources, Sherwood Design Engineers, MIC, L’Observatorie, ETM Associates;
- STOSS Landscape Urbanism in association with Amanda Williams, Urban Planning and Design for the American City, Alta Planning + Design, Marlon Blackwell Architects, HR & A Advisors and David Mason and Associates;
- TLS Landscape Architecture, OBJECT TERRITORIES, [dhd] derek hoeferlin design in association with Langan, Linda Samuels, Paola Serrano, EDSI, Ramboll, Kristin Fleischmann Brewer, eDesign Dynamics, Silman, Econsult Solutions, Bryan Cave, Preservation Research Office;
- W Architecture & Landscape Architecture in association with Arup, ABNA Engineering, Gardiner & Theobald, Kiku Obata & Co., Regina Myer.
“Our nation is trying to figure out what equitable cities look like and this competition is an opportunity to take on those issues and bring St. Louis to the forefront of this dialogue,” according to the Chouteau Greenway International Design Competition jury. “The four teams selected showed that they have the diversity of disciplines, experience and capacity needed to take on such a complex problem. Using terms such as ‘authentic engagement’, ‘radical listening’ and ‘empathy-driven approaches’, they described people as being the center of a transformation that will strengthen the fabric of St. Louis.”
Since September of 2017, Great Rivers Greenway has gathered community input on the project in a variety of ways. A survey, which 2,000 regional residents have taken to date, has thus far captured the community’s desire for the project to be inclusive on multiple levels. People have asked that the greenway create a physical common ground, but also that the process and implementation be intentional. Many respondents requested policy around the types of economic development the greenway could bring to ensure opportunities for all. Specific requests listed include small business development, job creation and affordable housing.
Teams will work on their designs throughout the first quarter of the year, meeting frequently with technical and community advisors from many disciplines across the region to guide the teams through questions to determine feasibility and relevance. Final design concepts will be presented to the community through exhibits, online surveys, open houses and direct outreach in April 2018.
The jury will then evaluate the plans based on design and community goals in late April and choose the winning team to finalize its design, completing the competition, in June 2018. Partners will then determine how to bring the project to life through further design, phasing, engineering, construction, activation, operations and maintenance.
Great Rivers Greenway is a regional public agency, funded by a new sales tax (passed by public referendum in 2000) to leave a legacy for future generations. Their mission is to make the St. Louis region a more vibrant place to live, work and play by developing a network of greenways to connect people to their rivers, parks and communities. In 2013, the region dedicated additional funds to parks and greenways, and we became the stewards of the local investment in the CityArchRiver Project, the transformation of the area surrounding the Gateway Arch.
History of this initiative:
Downtown St. Louis began taking shape in 1999, under the visionary leadership of McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS). Subsequently, the Chouteau Lake & Greenway Initiative was founded in the early 2000s and MBS engaged the HOK Planning Group, URS, ABNA, Bryan Cave LLP, Development Strategies, Great Rivers Greenway and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop the Chouteau Lake & Greenway Master Plan.
The team’s major green infrastructure Master Plan was conceived to connect parks and public spaces via a system of urban lakes, wetlands and trails through the St. Louis urban core. It was designed to provide recreational access and transportation alternatives for regional residents, stormwater mitigation, brownfield remediation, and to stimulate private development of adjacent land, neighborhoods, and commercial zones. The Chouteau Lake & Greenway Master Plan sought to link the emerging St. Louis regional greenways system with environmental restoration and the economic revitalization of the City’s central corridor.
A coalition of civic leaders in Missouri and Illinois, including elected officials, institutional leaders, philanthropists and others joined to support the creation of a national model for 21st century urban revitalization and environmental impact. Corporate sponsors and institutions including AT&T, Civic Progress Downtown Now, A. G. Edwards, Edward Jones, Nestle‐Purina, Regional Chamber and Growth Association, Washington University, Saint Louis University, Sigma‐Aldrich, the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the William T. Kemper Foundation, made significant financial contributions to underwrite the transformative initiative.
All images courtesy of Great Rivers Greenway.