The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Tower Grove Park

St. Louis

MO

USA

Contributed by 
Doug Rasmussen
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
February 5, 2002
December 14, 2017

One of three U.S. parks (along with New York's Central Park and Boston Common) listed as a National Historic Landmark.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Tower Grove Park is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. It spans 14 city blocks in length and 5 city blocks in width, and sits right in the middle of several historic neighborhoods in South St. Louis. It features several winding biking and running trails, Victorian gazebos, beautiful flora and fauna, granite statues, historic wrought iron gate entryways, several benches and resting places, fountains and wading pools, and places for recreational activity (tennis, softball, barbecuing, etc).

Access & Linkages

Tower Grove Park is a tremendous resource for nearby neighborhoods and the City of St. Louis. People nearby use the space for walking, exercising, relaxing, and socializing. People can circulate in it in a variety of ways. There is a central road bisecting the park accessible by automobile (this road, as it lines up with the granite statues, invokes the renaissance "vista" or straight line view principle). The road is narrow and equipped with speed bumps, thus making automobile traffic unobtrusive. People circulate within the park and through it via its various winding paths that leave the park at its corners and bisect the the park's central thoroughfare. These paths offer a variety of ingress/egress points to the different neighborhoods, thus promoting its use from surrounding residential areas. The park is assessible via bicycle and public transit (bus). Bicycles are popular in the park, while buses are not routed through the park but on the main streets bordering it.

Comfort & Image

I have lived in St. Louis for only 2-1/2 years and I fell in love with it immediately. Their are as many women as men in the park, and as mentioned before it is convienient with a lot of gazebos, benches, and tables for seating. The park is very clean as it is regularly maintained by park rangers and staff. The area feels very safe. Vehicles, though allowed, do not dominate the space. This is largely because traffic down the central thoroughfare is slow and is not visible (or if visible not very noticeable) from the pedestrian and bike paths that wind through the park.

Uses & Activities

Tower Grove Park is used for many activities, these include biking, walking, reading, walking a dog, a playground for children, running/jogging, playing tennis (on grass tennis courts and hard courts!), barbecuing, listening to music (jazz bands play at the main bandshell/gazebo in the summertime), playing softball, flying a kite, etc. I have seen all types of users in the park (including one eldery man last summer sitting under a sycamore tree on a bench listening to the St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcast). There are many choices and the whole park for the most part is utilized exceptionally well.

Sociability

As I drive visitors to St. Louis through its historic south side, I always show them the beauty of Tower Grove Park and the beautiful houses that border it. I have seen large groups and small groups of all ethnicities use the park as a place of refuge from the summer heat and as a meeting place for a soccer game, picnic, or walk. The park is a very peaceful place with a variety of people, activities, and life. It's the heart of South St. Louis in my opinion.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

This is one of three parks in the U.S. (along with Central Park in NY and Boston Common) listed as a National Historic Landmark. I was somewhat surprised that it wasn't already on this website, but then again not many people are aware of the beatiful parks and historic neighborhoods that exist in St. Louis.

Related Links & Sources

Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
Comments
Related Articles & Resources

More Related Articles

The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design