The Baden Pilot Project

Riparian edges can be living laboratories: the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia.

Posted by Katherine Welsch June 2, 2015


​Rod Barnett, professor and chair of landscape architecture, is part of an interdisciplinary team of WUSTL faculty that is working on the Baden Pilot Project, recipient of a faculty research award from WUSTL's International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES).

Partnering with St Louis' Urban Vitality & Ecology Initiative, multiple stakeholders are working to redevelop portions of the Baden neighborhood in North St. Louis, which is marked by a spate of recent home foreclosures and located near old streambeds resulting in chronic flooding and sewage backups.

Using the I-CARES funding and additional support from Arts & Sciences, the WUSTL team will investigate the interrelationships between the air, water, soil, microbes, biodiversity, and community. Specifically, they will collect baseline data to characterize the natural and social environment in its current state, and then design optimal strategies for sustainable development of this area.

Subsequently, the team will monitor the long-term changes in the environment to assess the efficacy of the different development approaches utilized, with the aim of creating a framework that could be applied throughout the city for future redevelopment projects.

David Fike, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, is the lead researcher for the project. Other WUSTL team members include Scott Krummenacher, postdoctoral teaching fellow in policital science in Arts & Sciences; Bill Lowry, professor of political science in Arts & Sciences; Kim Medley, associate director of Tyson Research Center; and Brent Williams, assistant professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

For Barnett, the project provides particularly exciting opportunities for collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines, and for Sam Fox School students, with a studio tied to the project currently under development for the next academic year.

"The graduate program in landscape architecture has as an objective the bringing together of urban ecology and environmental justice in the design of sensitive sites across the city of St Louis," Barnett said. "The Ecology and Vitality Initiative allows us to work with scientists and social scientists to provide just the right kind of cross-disciplinary expertise that is required for such a project"


I-CARES supports a network of researchers who focus on renewable energy, the environment, and sustainability, extending beyond the University's seven schools, nationally and internationally.

In 2015, I-CARES awarded funds to 10 projects involving nearly 30 WUSTL faculty from four schools: Arts & Sciences, the Brown School, the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and the Sam Fox School.
To see the full list of 2015 winning projects and faculty members involved, visit the I-CARES website.

With the addition of the 2015 research awardees, I-CARES now supports more than 160 individual researchers across 94 projects.