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Beyond Coal is a park design project located at the Gateway Mall in St. Louis. Coal has been an essential source of power generation since the 1800s. Coal is a non-renewable resource and causes environmental pollution in the process of using coal to generate electricity. Since the 21st century, there has been a shift from coal to renewable resources. In Missouri, however, coal still generates more than 70 percent of electricity. Coal ash from power generation is buried underground, threatening soil and groundwater resources. Climate change is further exacerbated by the large amounts of greenhouse gases produced by power generation. As a landscape architect living in Missouri, I need to tell the story of coal power to the people who also live in this land. Beyond coal aims to visualize the invisible hazards generated by coal power generation, and make people realize that every kilowatt of electricity we consume is endangering the natural environment and human health. The shape of the Mississippi River is carved on the grounds of the Gateway Mall in St. Louis. Three coal-fired power plants along the river that have a deep impact on St. Louis are being marked on the site. The density of the poles was used as a design tool to represent areas contaminated by coal. At the same time, the project will strongly encourage the use of renewable energy. Solar panels are placed on the facades and roofs of adjacent high-rises to provide power for electric car charging piles on the site. This design is expected to transform the existing park with low popularity through the expression of landscape design. While making the public space more interesting, it also inspires people to think about the pollution caused by coal power generation, thus promoting the transformation from coal to renewable energy.

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Landscape Architecture

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(c) 2020 Danny Hu


MLA 501, Fall 2019 Graduate Landscape Architecture Studio. Lecturer Micah Stanek, Washington University in St. Louis

Beyond Coal: Facing our Landscape Legacy & Seeing our Renewable Future