[ ARCH 372, LA 236/338, UP378 Spring 2003 ]

Good Neighborhood Project

South End as Residential Partnership

Brower

Sidney Brower* identifies the basic characteristics and attributes of various neighborhood types in his book, "Good Neighborhoods." The residential partnership neighborhood is one of these types and is characterized by a homogenous community suited to a quiet family life. The neighborhood is a place apart from the city requiring residents to commute outside the neighborhood for work and other activities. There is good access to highways and public transportation. Some commercial facilities may be located at the edge of the community. Schools and churches may also be found in the neighborhood. A residential partnership will commonly have a community organization that determines such things as overall appearance of the neighborhood, public space usage, and possibly screen potential residents.

Neighborhood Vision

The elements that we have proposed will emphasize the family-oriented, safe, quiet atmosphere that defines a residential partnership. The first element is a sign welcoming you to the South End Neighborhood. Additionally, all entrances to the neighborhood will be distinguished in some manner. For example a change in lighting fixtures and street signs will distinguish the South End from outlying communities in East St. Louis.

As the Residential Partnership is a family-focused community, we have proposed a park revitalization including new grills, playgrounds, sports facilities, and pathways to provide a safe environment for children and other family activities. Currently unclaimed spaces, such as under the tracks between Boismenue Avenue and Baker Street, will be converted into a park system that is linked to other parks within the South End.

The home is the heart of the Residential Partnership. South End residents have expressed the need for improved housing and we've incorporated many ideas in our proposal. Overall, we would like to revitalize current housing for today's family. New houses in character with existing housing stock will claim vacant lots. Alleyways will be eliminated and property lines extended to incorporate the land.

General street improvement, including storm water maintenance, replacement of manhole covers, addition and maintenance of street lighting, and sidewalk construction and maintenance, are also included in our proposal. Additionally, our plan includes the possible creation of cul-de-sacs making the residential areas private and safe. Cul-de-sacs also allow for larger lot sizes, creating more private space for residents.

A residential organization (SENDO), is also an important aspect of this neighborhood type. The organization can act as a mediator between the community and governmental institutions, such as the local police force and the public works department. The organization can also facilitate the formation of neighborhood watch groups, and campaign against illegal dumping. Also a community center will be created, which will support various community activities.

Commercial activity is limited in residential partnerships, but is permissible at the edges of the community. These businesses will provide for some daily needs of the residents, preventing the intrusion of outsiders into the neighborhood.

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