The black iron fences of St. Louis

"St. Louis is...divided by 7-foot iron fences."


St. Louis, Missouri

After the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, protests flowed through the streets of St. Louis and its suburbs. These marches were guided by the infrastructure I knew well from my three years in the city and county: a series of black iron fences that divided the public roads.

For Belt Magazine, I wrote about how this security infrastructure was one of the most familiar sights of the city's streets. By focusing on the fences instead of the people during a time of protest, I hoped to demonstrate to readers how St. Louis was physically divided and how political decisions were sewn into the urban fabric.

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De-publicized Space

Not all of St. Louis' fences are black. This covered plaza on the Delmar Loop, which the American Planning Association once called one of the country's best streets, is fenced off.

The article was a reflection of my time in St. Louis and how I began to learn how city spaces filter people through their streets and in their spaces. Even though the city and the region later became a byword for segregation in the United States, the filtering process is similar throughout urban spaces.