GOOD Ideas for Cities: Creating Bridges Between Neighborhoods

Posted by Alissa Walker

Many of St. Louis's neighborhoods are bound by "dividing lines"—streets or other physical barriers that have historically reinforced segregation between communities. How can we turn these boundaries into opportunities for interaction between neighborhoods? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities St. Louis, Arch City Revival presented their idea for turning neighborhood dividing lines into bridges between communities. Examining several of these boundaries in the city, the team realized it wasn't infrastructure improvement that was needed, but opportunities for people to engage socially. The team proposed a series of Streetside Social Centers, which would serve as a kind of public square, with activities curated by the communities themselves. The centers would be physical symbols that recognize and celebrate the real opportunities for interaction: the bike rides, music concerts and food festivals that bring neighbors together.

Challenge: Historically, St. Louis neighborhoods have been racially and economically segregated. The effects of these historic policies, and some current policies, allow the City of St. Louis to remain segregated in these ways: Throughout the city there are streets and public spaces that serve as dividing lines. How can we design the borders between our communities to act as bridges between our neighborhoods?

Jennifer Allen, Trailnet
Vince Schoemehl, Grand Center

Arch City Revival: Katy Mike Smaistrla, Emily Hemeyer, Joyce Gorrell, Amy Lampe, Sarah Paulsen, David Burnett, Michael Allen, Kara Clark Holland

Video by CAM and Nine Network

GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit good.is/ideasforcities