East St. Louis Neighborhood Design Studio

ARCH 372, LA 236/338, UP378

Spring 2003

   Course Description
  Community design/development challenges designers and planners to grapple with real-world complexities in order to develop site-specific, community-appropriate design and planning. This spring, students developed a neighborhood plan and accompanying design interventions for the South End Neighborhood of East St. Louis.  In the course of providing technical assistance to the South End Neighborhood Development Organization (SENDO), students learned skills required to gather information from place and residents and to process this information both analytically and expressively in order to develop inspired design.
   Student Projects

The South End Neighborhood Plan - May 5, 2003 (Draft)

The South End Neighborhood Plan, created by residents of the South End and students in the interdisciplinary studio, documents current conditions and presents a comprehensive neighborhood strategy for the South End New Development Organization (SENDO). Based on community feedback regarding analysis of physical and social factors, the plan provides a guiding framework for neighborhood revitalization.

Composite Base Map - A Vision of the Future

Good Neighborhood Project

The purpose of this project is to generate creative, yet practical, design/planning options for the South End neighborhood based on Brower's* four neighborhood alternatives. Residents from the neighborhood will review, discuss and select from these options at the next South End New Development Organization (SENDO) meeting.

South End as Center Neighborhood

South End as Small-Town Neighborhood

South End as Residential Partnership

South End as Retreat Neighborhood

*Sydney Brower, Good Neighborhoods: A Study of In-town and Suburban Residential Environments (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1996).

   Examples of outreach materials used in the Planning Process

Press release (Word File)


   Course Summary
  The final draft plan for the South End Neighborhood in East St. Louis, created during the spring semester of 2003, results from a joint effort by students and faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the South End New Development Organization (SENDO). SENDO members partnered with four faculty and 39 architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning students through four stages of the planning process. Stages undertaken during the semester include: gathering information, ordering - to understand the type of neighborhood residents envisioned for the future of the South End, making – to understand the real possibilities, and laying the foundation for taking action.

Information gathering builds upon material collected by the ESLARP Neighborhood Design Workshop during spring 2002 and provides a detailed understanding of the existing social and physical fabric of the neighborhood. Ordering involved four interdisciplinary student teams proposing South End redevelopment along the lines of four neighborhood typologies proposed by Sidney Brower in his book Good Neighborhoods. This ordering exercise allowed students and faculty to better understand resident visions of a future South End Neighborhood. This vision became the basis for the making stage where the work of seven interdisciplinary student teams came together to propose an overall neighborhood framework and more specific and detailed physical plans for six identified neighborhood areas. A working vision statement, developed by students and faculty, as they reflected on what they heard from SENDO members, guided the making stage. The final draft plan represents the outcomes of the making stage of the planning process; it also proposes a list of possible actions that SENDO can take in order to implement various parts of the neighborhood plan. During the summer of 2003, Janni Sorensen from UIUC’s ESLARP will work with SENDO members to put the draft plan into finalized form so that SENDO members can work toward converting the plan into policy guiding the South End’s future redevelopment.

   Teaching Team

Lynne Dearborn, Architecture, Architecture 402, dearborn@uiuc.edu, 333-4331
Office Hours: M, W 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Stacy Harwood, Urban and Regional Planning, TBH M208, sharwood@uiuc.edu, 265-0874
Office Hours: M 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Laura Lawson, Landscape Architecture, TBH M222, ljlawson@uiuc.edu, 244-5408
Office Hours:  M, W 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Janni Sorensen, Teaching Assistant, Urban and Regional Planning, Noble Hall 315, jsorense@uiuc.edu, 265-6341
Office Hours:  W 10:30 – 12:00

  Key Concepts

Interdisciplinary:  This class integrates scholarship and methods of inquiry from architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. Students should be open to learning new approaches, looking at new areas of research/literature, and be willing to complete tasks that may be unfamiliar to them.   Most of the work in this course will be done in teams that include students from all three disciplines. This will require advanced coordination to accommodate different schedules.  The faculty will also work as a team.

Community/ University Partnership:  This class is part of the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP), a program of the University of Illinois that provides resources and technical support to community organizations.  In return, the university has an opportunity for innovative design, community engagement, and new pedagogical approaches.

Service Learning:  From the student perspective, this class aims to give real-world application to your academic studies.  You are providing technical expertise to a community organization while the residents are teaching you about neighborhood dynamics, organizing, and getting things done. 

Professionalism:  The work that students do in this class goes to a client and will be implemented.  While students may be learning through the process of the work, it is important to realize that the product must be professional and thorough. Final work needs to be “A” quality.  Similarly, students are expected to be responsible, courteous, and reliable in all dealings with students, faculty, and our community clients.