By Tom Weber, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – A new report finds Missourians are not using their land efficiently.
The Brookings Institute studied the state's population trends during the 1990's.
It found the St. Louis metro area urbanized land at four times the rate of population growth. Bruce Katz, who helped write the study, says the increased urban sprawl is not just in St. Louis. "St. Louis really stands apart as an extremely decentralized metropolitan economy, with people and jobs out-migrating at a fairly feverish pace," Katz said. "But what's interesting about this report is decentralization is a common trend throughout Missouri."
"I think so much that we've heard of Missouri is about how St. Louis is different than Kansas City and how the small metro areas are different from the big ones, and how urban is different than rural. What's really striking about this report are these common trends and these common challenges that are faced throughout the state."
Katz says reform is necessary at a state level to better manage resources. He adds the current trend of statewide sprawl could lead to strange alliances between urban and rural interests. The group calls on Missouri lawmakers to review and possibly change laws that deal with how communities set up tax structures and use land for development.
Another finding was that just 8% percent of the St. Louis workforce is employed within three miles of the city's central business district.