Disinvestment & Reinvestment in Midwestern Cities

  • 13 Jun 2017
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, 2319 Chouteau, Suite 200 (63103)


  • For individuals who do not hold a current USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Membership

June 13 Program

Disinvestment & Reinvestment in Midwestern Cities

Presented in partnership with St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO).

Online registration for this event is now closed. Walk-in registrants are welcomed at the door of the event.

Sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present generation while also ensuring that future generations can meet their needs.” Sustainability in the built environment is typically associated with reducing the environmental impact and increasing the resilience of materials and systems. However, there is additionally a social dimension to sustainability in the built environment, one that considers the impact that architecture, urban design, and development patterns can have in reinforcing segregation, disinvestment, and impoverishment.

Professor Olon Dotson will discuss the social dimension of sustainability, examining from an architectural perspective the extent of the distress and abandonment commonly found in the cores of American cities resulting from de-industrialization, historic segregation and discrimination patterns, suburban sprawl, erosion of a viable tax base, crumbling infrastructure systems, disinvestment in urban school systems, and environmental justice issues.

He will share how reflecting directly on these “fourth world conditions” as a product of the racialization of place can help the architecture and other development professions begin to tackle them productively.

Mr. Dotson will be joined by Sal Martinez, the current board president of the Community Builders Network and the executive director of North Newstead Association. Mr. Martinez will present some of the latest development initiatives underway in the Near North neighborhoods of St. Louis, including the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility and the implementation of the Near North Side Master Plan through a HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant. These initiatives represent a first move towards reinvestment in the built environment of distressed areas.

Olon Dotson - Photo croppedOlon Dotson, Associate Professor of Architecture at the Ball State University, College of Architecture and Planning Olon Dotson’s primary research interest and focus has been in the health, vitality, and quality of life in inner-city communities. He introduced the concept of Fourth World Nation and has lectured about Fourth World Theory in a multitude of contexts including, but not limited to the World Architectural Congress in Durban, South Africa, Lawrence Technical University, Tuskegee University, Spaces and Flows Conference, and The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Conference. Mr.Dotson has published several articles about the topic of Fourth World Theory and has instructed a Fourth World Theory Course at Ball State for several years. The evolution of this topic contributed to the creation of a Minor in Social and Environmental Justice for undergraduate students, and a Certificate in Social and Environmental Justice for Graduate Students in the Ball State University, College of Architecture and Planning, Department of Architecture.

Sal photo

Sal Martinez, Executive Director of North Newstead Association.  Mr. Martinez has established himself as a force in the comprehensive revitalization of the St. Louis region from his work in the Vashon/Jeff-Vander-Lou Initiative  and the St. Louis Housing Authority.  Martinez has been recognized for his work and service by the St. Louis Argus Newspaper, Better Family Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri just to name a few.  Martinez is also the co-founder of The Minority Contractor Initiative which provides training, capacity building and technical assistance to minority and women owned construction firms in the St. Louis region.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 5:30 – 7:30
5:30-6:15 pm –Registration & Networking
6:15-7:30 pm – Formal Presentation

Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, 2319 Chouteau, Suite 200 (63103)

Free for USGBC-MGC Members and Students,
$20 for Non-members

Click the “Register” button on the left side of this page.


Lawrence Group

QUESTIONS? Contact USGBC-Missouri Gateway staff at hope.gribble@mobot.org or (314) 577-0225.


Flance Learning Center opened to students in June 2014, and aims to be an exemplary early
learning center, serving children of all incomes and backgrounds, six-weeks to six-years of age in a new, $11.5 million facility. The center’s design team placed heavy emphasis on ensuring that indoor and outdoor spaces were resource-efficient, free of toxins, healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective.  In recognition of this emphasis on health and environmental
sustainability, Flance Center is registered to become only the 4th LEED for Schools Certified
Preschool in the world.   Universal Design features are also incorporated to create a convenient
experience for staff and students, regardless of physical ability, thereby creating an environment in which special-needs and typical-needs children can thrive side-by-side in the same classrooms.