ESLARP East St. Louis Action Research Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Alta Sita Physical Context

Planning and Design for Neighborhood Quality of Life

Existing Land Uses, surveyed February, 1999
Map courtesy Team C

Virginia Place and adjacent neighborhoods -- open suburban sense-of-place
Photos Robert Selby

Poss Summer Studio Project - pavilion for Virginia Park
Virginia Park Photos Jeffrey Poss

Mix of housing types - new, old; single and multi-family

Mix of housing conditions - delapidated and active re-modelling

Adjoining industrial complex - some active, some abandoned

Neighborhood Condition Survey, Citizen interaction and input into the design process

Part Four

Planning and Design for Neighborhood Quality of Life: 
Project Planning and Design

The pattern for the remainder of the semester was determined by individual groups and their timelines developed to suit.

Re-examination of data sources

Neighborhood Condition Survey

Concentrations of red indicate the denser, more viable parts of the neighborhood.

Presence of two-storey structures reinforces previous image.

Alta Sita is predominately green, with a surrounding donut of potential green space.

Presence of trash concentrated in periphery of neighborhood.

Neighborhood Infrastructure Survey

Streets are in good condition in the neighborhood core.

Sidewalks are more variable in condition and extent.

Street lighting is very patchy, although widespread in the neighborhood

Resident Attitude Survey

150 households were interviewed.  Summary data are still being geocoded -- these are some of the narrative responses:

"The old people leave and the houses are vacant. Nobody takes care of them."

"The day care center is good but expensive."

"People donít visit with each other as much."

"Pollution has gummed up the soil and created bad air"

"The city's like a "big toilet, big dirty toilet, with a couple fo clean specks."

"You can't see the nice homes in the overall dirty city."

"Fixing street lights is a problem, you have to go out and read the little number off the top of the light, then report it to the city, and then the city calls the company to come fix it, (I) had to use binoculars to read the number."

"The street floods too when the drain isn't clear.  We don't all get flooded, not all of the neightbors get flooded at the same time, it's like one house at a time, and there's no sewer cleaning services."

"Relationships in ESL- everyone knows everyone and everyone's related to each other"

"They need to work - there are a lot of people just patting each other on the back saying good job, but nothing is getting done."

"On this side of Bond it's not so bad, but on the other side it's really bad."

"A lot of the homes are American Bottoms owned, so they should maintain and pay taxes for them, but they don't.  Their name is on the title after a lien was put on the property. "

"(We were) the first black family, on Market (St) 44-45 years."

"Loss of commercial businesses - grocery store 29th and market,  "smell of fresh bread"  bakery, drug store."

"Once white and black, now all black."

"Better now: First moved here it was a white neighborhood in 7-19-56.  Blacks moved in and whites moved out."

"Lower taxes;  cut trees and clear fields."

"Supervise the neighborhood (no uppity people)."

House damaged in 1970 railroad explosion, "I thought it was Judgement Day."

"Railroad blast: blew houses down, railroad moved and trees grew, dead bodies thrown in overgrown lot, don't maintain the lot."

"Deteriorated gradually-older people died-no community anymore."

"29th Street businesses gone-groceries, barber,bakery,hardware."

"No more apartments or duplexes; keep up with the old style of Virginia Park; build from original footprints and styles; hopes Metro-Link gets expanded ( a branch to Cahokia) sub station in Fairview and more buses to Fairview."

"School system has not changed for the better, when there was neighborhood schools kids didnít (grade school) have to go far away."

"No one watches the park.  There used to be a watcher."

"Street- huge holes in street when large vehicles went over it, shook house and cause damage."

"Older population, quiter, houses not kept up, more transitory population, fewer home owners."

"Neighborhood children tore down property - the beauty has been lost."

Potential project areas identified in project description

Industrial districts (abandoned) - design solutions for re-use
Mt Zion special district - planning for growth and maturity of church precinct
Infrastructure problems - master planning solutions for transportation, flood control
Virginia Park - development plans in collaboration with Alta Sita neighbors
Delapidated structures - alternative and temporary site uses
EZ area agenda - master planning for EZ implementation
Neighborhood shopping (26th & Bond) - design and guidelines for node development
Low income housing projects - design improvements at existing locations
New low income housing - design of new locations
Open space planning - integrated plan for  the use of currently abandoned land
Youth employment - identify development opportunities incorporating job training

Link to Part Four web pages

Final Design Development
Semester Projects, Part Four

East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP)

Perpetual Growth:  Youth, Development, Safety, Wisdom, Team A,
This project has two focal points; 26th and Bond, and 29th and Bond.  Three ingredients ensure growth: a daycare, a police sub-station, and a community center in a rehabilitated church.   /eslclasses/a/

Intercity Economic Realtionships -- Revitialization and Restoration, Team B,
By utilizing the prosperity in St. Louis and the resources in East St. Louis, we plan to rebuild the Alta Sita community.  The foundation of this redevelopment process is a distribution center from which a business
community will grow.   /eslclasses/b/

A Walkable Community, Team C,
A holistic master plan for the neighborhood that starts at Virginia Place and will eventually expand to envelope all of  Alta Sita.  This design will emphasize pedestrian walkways that will tie the community together.  /eslclasses/c/

Sustainable Alta Sita:  A Design Prototype for Energy Efficiency, Team D,
This project proposes improvement in Alta Sita through the development of prototype neighborhood blocks which address energy-efficient housing, live/work environments, and the improvement of natural habitats.  /eslclasses/d/

Alta Sita Outreach Center, Team E,
The Alta Sita Outreach Center educational, athletic, and community facilities, are sited near the intersection of 26th and Tudor.  This center takes advantage of the vacant land on the southwest edge of the neighborhood and takes an immediate presence as a high profile structure immediately viewed from the main road into Alta Sita.   /eslclasses/e/

Alta Sita:  Planning for the Future, Team F,

26th and Bond Redevelopment Partnership, Team G,
Design of a commercial development center to serve the Alta Sita Neighborhood with emphasis on walking access for the neighbors.  Particular attention was paid to the treatment of the street facades and
detailing of landscape and lighting to fit in the existing fabric of the neighborhood.    /eslclasses/g/

Alta Sita Community Campus, Team H,
The Alta Sita Community Campus will be a multi-generational focal point that will provide the neighborhood with a single campus setting for children, adult, and senior activities; educational programs; and social gathering.   /eslclasses/h/

Restoring an Earlier Commercial Zone, Team I,
This project examines two different proposals for restoration and redevelopment of a commercial district at 29th and Bond.    The designs demonstrate potential urban and suburban solutions.   /eslclasses/i/

Arrival and Focus -- Alta Sita, Team J,
Creating an attractive entrance and community center for Alta Sita.  Key aspects of this design include pedestrian-scale, street oriented buildings and unified greenspaces.  /eslclasses/j/

Previous Class Presentations:

Part One/Two

Background research, Principles of 
Neighborhood Physical Planning and Design -- Work as Teams

Background research, prototype design solutions based on the research, and world-wide web interface.

Link to Part One/Two web pages

Part Three

Planning and Design for Neighborhood Quality of Life:
Project Master Planning -- Work as Teams

Project Definition

Candidate project types

Link to Part Three web pages