nextSTL announces Open/Closed: Exploring Vacant Property in St. Louis – March 18-19

Please visit the conference page for the latest schedule and panel lineup.

Organized and developed by and Frontier St. Louis and made possible with the generous support of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and the Rebuild Foundation, Open/Closed is the first annual summit on vacant land, buildings and property in St. Louis.

Open/Closed: Exploring Vacant Property in St. Louis, is an opportunity for community stakeholders, leaders, artists, and activists to strengthen their knowledge of the vacant property issue and to develop new solutions. St. Louis faces many challenges, but none are more visceral than the thousands of vacant homes and lots that have a corrosive effect on our community. With one in five addresses currently vacant, we cannot ignore the issue any longer. The challenge demands collaborative responsibility and action.

Over the course of two days, informative, authoritative and diverse individuals and organizations will come together to consider what’s next for vacant land in our city. In film, keynote presentations, tours and panel discussions, Open/Closed will explore the state of vacant land in St. Louis, its fiscal and social impacts on our community and where we go from here. Additional panelists will be announced in the near future.

nextSTL is committed to engaging the St. Louis community in a discussion about the future of our city and region. The online community is going offline and into our neighborhoods to explore what's next. Open/Closed is just the first step in nextSTL's committment to the creation and support of civic engagement in St. Louis.

Preliminary list of participants:
Michael Allen – Preservation Research Office
Todd Antoine – Great Rivers Greenway
Sylvester Brown Jr. – author/activist
Juan William Chavez – artist/activist
Antonio French – 21st Ward Alderman
Lauren Maul – Gateway Greening
Audrey Spalding – Show-Me Institute
Ramona Williams – M-SLICE/activist
Representatives of the City of St. Louis
Members of the St. Louis Development Community

Preliminary open/closed schedule:
March 18 – Old North St. Louis Restoration Group  
     8:00 PM – Scenes from The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History

March 19 – Holy Trinity Church in Hyde Park    
     10:00 AM – Convocation Keynote
     11:00 AM – Panel Discussion 1: Regeneration
     12:00 PM – Lunch
     1:15PM Walking Tours of Hyde Park and affected neighborhoods
             OR Panel Discussion 2: The Environmental Issues of Vacancy
     3:00 PM Panel Discussion 3: Reuse/Revive
             OR Panel Discussion 4: Vacancy and Schools
     4:15 PM Panel Discussion 5: Vacancy in Planning and Development
     5:15 PM Dinner (catered by local business – RSVP REQUIRED)
     6:00 PM keynote presentation – Sylvester Brown
     7:30 PM Scenes from Brick by Chance and Fortune documentary at ONSLRG

Open/Closed is a free event. There is no cost to attend any, or all, of the scheduled films, panels or tours. There will be a charge if you choose to stay at the conference site for dinner.

Participants and schedule are subject to change. RSVP is requested: or [email protected] (Please indicate which presentations, panels and films you plan to attend.) Join the Open/Closed discussion on the nextSTL Forum.

Contact: Alex Ihnen at [email protected] or (314) 941-4929
R.J. Koscielniak at [email protected] or (314) 330-8279