Keiner Plaza

Market and 4th Street
St. Louis , MO

Submitted by: Teresita Cochran

Empty, uninviting, under-utilized... this plaza has all the hallmarks of a failed space.

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Why It Doesn't Work

This place features paths that go nowhere in particular, on a two-block by one-block rectangle of land. It also features an under-utilized amphitheatre without sufficient cover from the hot summer sun, and two fountains whose water has bright aqua dye. It is bounded to the north by fast-food chain restaurants which close after the business day. What would make this plaza better? How about sufficient tree cover to create areas where people might be able to sit; summer cafes or sandwich shops so that they can get food and refreshments while outside; some appropriate signage about the history of the site and its connection to the old court house on the east and the Arch. Also, planned activities would bring people there regularly.

What Puts Keiner Plaza in the Hall of Shame?

There is fast moving traffic on three of the four sides of this plaza, and no human-scale buildings around. Fast food restaurants bound the north side of the park without sufficient trash receptacles, and the connection to historical sites is underemphazed. This place might as well be a big reflecting pond, or a big beach.

There is no comfortable green space that takes into account the hot summers of St. Louis. There is a large Richard Serra sculpture which has been defaced numerous times and is not only uninviting, but dangerous in that vagrants hide behind the sculpture and use it as a urinal.

The only time I have seen evidence of people there is during the brief businesss lunch hour. There are no real gathering nodes, other than the huge amphitheater, which provides little or no protection from the weather.

No one meets here that I have seen, except maybe for big rallies. Few if any people that go there to talk. Never have I seen people walk and make eye-contact, and the only age of people I have seen is middle-aged business people. No one counts this place as a landmark of St. Louis.

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