Ground Incision

Albie Mitchell and Irene Compadre teamed up to create a proposal for the Sustainable Land Lab competition.  The competition asked teams to propose innovative projects that transform vacant lots into assets that advance sustainability.  Of St. Louis’s more than 10,000 vacant parcels, there were six to choose from in the Old North neighborhood.

Ground Incision responds to St. Louis’ history of urban erasure and to the environmental issues specific to site six with a series of intentional cuts into the ground’s asphalt cover. On a site that has already been erased, we are subtracting once again to present an alternative to vacancy that will create an environmental and social asset.

The incisions we propose will be pattered against existing water flows and planted with native, flood-tolerant species to increase the absorptive capacity of the site and limit the quantity of run-off. The resulting visual complexity created by the ground relief and plant palette will activate the site, drawing visitors in to explore the landscape. A collection of benches will provide a gathering space for the community and signage will educate visitors about the replicable components of the design. These alterations will transform unused space into public space.


  • Design
  • Design Thinking
  • Rendering
  • Urban Design