81. Parking Plot
St. Louis, Mo. / Free Agents Imbert and Meijerink
Despite St. Louis’ robust park system and 19th-century districts lined with shady trees, landscape architects Dorothée Imbert and Paula Meijerink sensed a disconnect between the city’s green agenda and its proliferation of paved surfaces. To foreground the contradiction, Imbert and Meijerink, working with students in Washington University’s MLA program (which Imbert leads), devised a quick and dirty intervention: Renting a wet saw, they made two incisions into a thick, impervious asphalt parking lot, filled the strips with compost, and planted seedlings collected from the ruderal forest growing on the Pruitt-Igoe site. They marked their squat “Parking Plot” in hazard yellow paint, and are monitoring the test beds to study how tough urban vegetation, encouraged to grow in unexpected places, might supplement the city’s traditional leafy canopy.

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