Community visionaries and organizers from across the region held a conference in St. Louis on Friday. The “Livable St. Louis” conference aims to transform the region through a range of quality of life improvements.
The conference was organized by Trailnet and focused on improving declining neighborhoods through projects such as affordable housing, safe streets, vibrant public spaces and green infrastructure.
Regina Martinez works with a group called the Rebuild Foundation that tries to transform old structures into new community assets.
“We work with buildings that have been around for a long time, that are not currently being utilized, and get to know what the function and value of the house might be, with art as a major pillar of that conversation,” says Martinez. “But really, more so than art, it’s about creativity, people kind of shut down when they hear ‘art.'"
Martinez calls this kind of work “creative place-making” and is currently working on a project called “the Pink House" in the North St. Louis County community of Pagedale.
Other ideas were focused on improving quality of life by improving the overall sustainability of the St. Louis region.
Emily Andrews is the Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council—Missouri chapter.
She says one of the biggest challenges facing our St. Louis is adapting existing infrastructure with sustainable technology.
“It’s really easy to implement green practices and sustainable practices when you’re building something new, when you’re developing a new neighborhood, when you’re putting new streets in,” Andrews says. “But when you look at the existing infrastructure it’s much more difficult.”
Andrews is currently working on a projected called the “St. Louis High-Performance Building Initiative,” which aims to increase the square footage of verified green office space by 50 percent over the next two years.
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