St. Louis on the Air
4:35 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Did St. Louis Leaders Let Its Greatness ‘Slip Away?’

When it comes to successfully or unsuccessfully governing and managing communities, leadership decisions can make or break a city or region.

St. Louis has been cited as a city “that let greatness slip away over the 20th century.”  That’s the contention of Colin Gordon, Professor of History at the University of Iowa, in his book, Mapping Decline…St. Louis and the Fate of the American City.

Host Don Marsh talked with Gordon along with Joel Rhodes, Professor of History at Southeast Missouri State University and author of A Missouri Railroad Pioneer: the Life of Louis Houck.

“I think the puzzle of the 21st century is the fact that our cities are still suffering, they’re under-governed, they’re under-resourced, and they’re the poor step-sisters of American politics in terms of their claim on national attention,” Gordon said.  “And yet, at no time in our history have cities been more important economically.  The top 100 metro areas in this country occupy 20 percent of the land area and they account for 80 percent of the gross national product. I think the future is in metropolitan areas and it’s a shame they continue to be governed in the way a city like St. Louis is governed.”

Gordon and Rhodes visit St. Louis this weekend to participate in a panel, “The Geography of Money,” a program which will “explore how policy and spending decisions by business and government leaders have affected the growth, location and vitality of various communities throughout Missouri.”  The program is part of the Greater St. Louis Humanities Festival, which takes place April 4-6.

Interview with Colin Gordon and Joel Rhodes

Related Event

Panel: Geography of Money
Saturday, April 6
2:00 p.m.
Missouri History Museum, Lee Auditorium

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