Competition May Bring “New Lease” for City’s Vacant Lots

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The City of St. Louis has an estimated 20-thousand vacant lots.

A competition launched last week hopes to transform a few as a model for future redevelopment.

“It impacts economic development, it impacts sustainability, it impacts health and safety,” says Phil Valko, Director of Sustainability at Washington University in St. Louis.   The university is partnering with the City and the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

Yet Valko says the best use for the land may not be buildings. “Perhaps the highest and best use is some very innovative rain garden that also has an energy generating component and then on the weekends has a pop-up shop that can generate a little bit of revenue”

Over the coming months the Sustainable Land Lab will choose four teams to put their concept into place on vacant lots in Crown Square.

Valko says the main focus is environmental sustainability, but he adds social and economic sustainability for future generations could also be an important part of any design.

Click here for more on the Sustainable Land Lab.

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