CityStudioSTL Faculty Course Grant in Partnership with SPI

Posted by Liz Kramer May 26, 2020


The Sam Fox School and the Social Policy Institute at Washington University have awarded their first joint CityStudioSTL Faculty Course Grant to associate professor Catalina Freixas. 

The CityStudioSTL Course Grants, now in their fourth year, support faculty and encourage community-engaged teaching in the St. Louis region. The partnership with the Social Policy Institute encourages faculty in the Sam Fox School to address understanding of the critical role of the policy process in community-engaged practice. The grants are awarded by a jury of faculty and staff. 

Frexias’ course, Segregation by Design: A Historical Analysis of the Impact of Planning and Policy in St. Louis (A46 ARCH 457B), is in its fifth year and has previously received the CityStudioSTL Course Grant. The course seeks to examine the role of planning and design in fostering and maintaining segregation in American cities, including St. Louis. Students will create specific neighborhood plans to address challenges facing St. Louis communities, supported by mentors from both design and the humanities. 

Segregation by Design is offered as a cross-university experience, with partnerships with Harris-Stowe State University, Saint Louis University, and University of Missouri-St. Louis, as well as extensive and long-standing neighborhood collaborations across the City of St. Louis. Partnerships are established through a request for proposals process in which neighborhood organizations are able to submit potential collaborations with the course. The selected partners illustrate deeply entrenched racial segregation as a result of policy and planning decisions and have the potential for resiliency in the face of these challenges. 

Students’ work from this course is collected into a book each semester, which highlights the design and policy proposals that address and mitigate the impacts of segregation in the partner neighborhoods. In fall 2020, the faculty will explore ways to further expose students to policy-making, and to make the research and proposal students produce available and applied in the City of St. Louis. 

Read more about this course in our recent projects page here and in this article about student experiences in the seminar. See previous publications from Segregation by Design here (available via WUSTL Key Login). 

About CityStudioSTL

CityStudioSTL supports a series of community engagement and outreach projects that bring together students in architecture, art, and design with partners in the city of St. Louis. It is generously supported by Gina and Bill Wischmeyer, BA69/MArch71. More information is available here>>

About CityStudioSTL Faculty Course Grants

CityStudioSTL Faculty Course Grants are open to all teaching faculty affiliated with the Sam Fox School. Funding may support existing community-engaged courses, adding a component of community-engaged teaching to an existing course, or developing and executing a new community-engaged course. Students must be involved in socially engaged and collaborative work with a St. Louis-based partner. Grant applications are due in the mid-fall and mid-spring semesters. More information is available here>>

About SPI

The Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis conducts research, activates solutions, and develops people locally, nationally and globally. The institute, which launched in 2019, fosters interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration to design, test, inform, and impact innovative policy solutions to social problems in four areas—financial security, health, housing, and education. Learn more at