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To better understand how cities function, we have borrowed ideas from urban metabolism studies as a lens to investigate the former Pruitt-Igoe site and Greater St. Louis, a shrinking American city. Urban metabolism provides a way to think about the health of our cities—complex human made systems that overlay natural ones. By drawing an analogy between cities and the biological processes of organisms, we can start to frame and attempt to measure physical, cultural, social, economic, and political health by analyzing the flows and exchange of materials and energy in our communities. The former Pruitt-Igoe housing project is located at the heart of St. Louis’ slowing metabolism. Given the enormity of affecting change in this part of the city, is there potential on the ground, beginning with the Pruitt-Igoe site, to alter perceptions of depopulating cities? Our proposal aims to rethink marginalized spaces and reconnect them to vital city functions—a reinvigorated urban metabolism. Ultimately, we believe that the tension between a state of vacancy and no vacancy is a question best left open to interpretation.

Used Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, AutoCAD, ArcGIS & iMovie.