This project satisfied capstone/thesis requirements for dual Master's degrees in landscape architecture and urban/regional planning, and received a 2011 MN Landscape Architecture Capstone Merit Award.
The Lowertown area of downtown Saint Paul is both historically and culturally rich- the birthplace of the Dakota people and the city of Saint Paul, and the historic head of continental Mississippi navigation for the Northwest. For the last 150 years however, we have given this socially and environmentally vital riparian area over to machines and infrastructure: to railroads, automobiles, sewer systems, electrical grids, and surface parking. Like many prior industrial areas throughout the U.S., we have erased the original history and ecological functionality of the land, first by replacing it with hardscape engineered infrastructure lacking in cultural identity, and second by allowing that infrastructure to decay, obsolesce, and contaminate surrounding soil and water.
This dual landscape architecture and urban planning project repurposes and reconnects the disconnected pieces of Lowertown by daylighting and reusing stormwater to create public space, sustain urban agriculture, and create new water-cleansing wetlands. Additional design and planning approaches include the phytoremediation of rail yard contamination, reduction of impervious surfaces, establishment of creative pedestrian, bicycle, and light rail connections, and an active celebration of the creative local arts and food culture. The resulting design transforms this concrete and asphalt brownfield into a green and thriving community that has reestablished its historic, cultural, and living bond with the Mississippi River.
Lowertown Yards: Urban Green Infrastructure A Vision for Reclaiming River Land from Industry and Parking.
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