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The significance and location of the MetroLink stop in Downtown East St. Louis identifies the initial step in the rehabilitation of the devastated and abandoned larger area. The historic Collinsville Avenue north of the stop, the East St. Louis Community College Center to the west, the relative density of residential to the east, and institutional importance of St. Mary's Hospital to the south, border the MetroLink spine and are the anchor points for new system of connections. The project uses the concept of a series of spines to illustrate and implement this idea of connection between the existing assets of the community. The first spine is the "green spine." The initial phase will use bioaremediation along the MetroLink to set up the infrastructure for the development of community programs to accomodate an underserved population. In later phases, the green spine will include urban farms as a component of the larger community program framework. By turning the MetroLink stop into central public space and by creating programmatic elements adjacent to the MetroLink spine, the community can begin to reclaim the neglected spaces behind buildings and redefine their uses. This strategy will introduce a new typology for the community where underutilized and typically neglected spaces are turned into places for active or passive use, which will transform the greater urban infrastructure into an interconnected series of spaces, all operating within the idea of ownership. The second spine is the "pedestrian spine" that intersects the "green spine" at the MetroLink stop. This part of the proposal hopes that by creating a new pedestrian corridor that runs parallel to Broadway and that provides access to the Metro stop, the urban identity of the area will be reinvigorated and the set of dynamic, active, and beautiful public places that branch off the corridor will serve the community as places of activity. The third spine is the "New Main Street spine," which runs along Sixth Street, connecting ESLCCC to the residential population to the east. The re-design of the streetscape using landscpape, lighting, a series of recreational programming, as well as other components, along with the combined effects of the series of spines, will create the incentive and base for further economic investment and development of the community of East St. Louis.

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Urban, Community and Regional Planning

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© 2009 Yang

Looking Inward: Reimaging the Urban Backyard
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