Rebuild in North St Louis

Rebuild Foundation

Funding Received: 2013
St. Louis, MO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 17, 2013

3D Model of 1419 Mallinckrodt; Courtesy of el dorado inc.

As our design team works on obtaining permit and construction documents for 1419 Mallinckrodt, we are always asking ourselves, "What are the right moments to include our community constituents in the process?" These non-design practitioners—whose insight and input is most valuable in this critical part of the design process—can deeply inform the direction of a project. However, getting too many people involved too early can bog down the entire process, much of which is innately more bureaucratic.

In some ways, we've been doing this participatory community visioning in Hyde Park since 2010, when Rebuild began having a presence in the neighborhood. Artists, architects, planners, and others passionate about creative responses to the issues facing communities like Hyde Park were asked to think about these issues in concert with the existing residents. Results have ranged from the ubiquitous and ephemeral community chalkboard approach, openly asking questions like: "What can happen in this vacant lot?" to a variety of ongoing youth education programs related to creating missing neighborhood amenities, and of course our Hyde Park Art House, itself a culmination of these interactions.

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Hyde Park Art House workshop space

Recent Wins
Our Hyde Park Art and Design Summer Camp wrapped up in August. The Camp invited Hyde Park youth to participate in a daily class for three weeks where they learned about things like landscape design and planning; went on field trips, and met with visiting guests. They also created ceramic tile mosaics out of existing, discarded landscape pavers, to be incorporated into the new landscape design that they helped to plan.

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Landscape pavers with mosaics, created by Art Camp participants

When kicking off a project of this scale and nature, the question goes back to thinking about how do we keep our neighbors engaged and informed, even when there are passages of time during which there aren't clear opportunities for involvement. These could be, for example, when awaiting approval on a building permit or for a loan to close, or for the right weather. This spring in Chicago, we began a monthly Saturday morning "Coffee Hour", for which we presented a casual setting where neighbors could come and get coffee, donuts, and updates on the status of various projects in the neighborhood. When there were no updates because of any number of reasons, we invited a guest expert to share some skills and experiences with the group that we were relevant to the project, in this case, the Dorchester Artist Housing Collaborative.