Jean Allman
Provided by Washington University

“If you didn’t know better you’d think we were prescient.”

Washington University history professor Jean Allman was talking about a new cross-disciplinary project she’s leading at Washington U: “Divided City.” Because it is to be launched presently, you might suppose it was established in response to the killing of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson. In reality, the project has been in the works for some time and even has an antecedent that is seven years old.

Philip Hamer, MUNY

When most St. Louisans want to see wildlife in Forest Park, they head for the St. Louis Zoo.

But Forest Park Forever ecologist Peter VanLinn says there are plenty of animals in the rest of the park, too.

Not long after dawn on a brisk fall morning, he met up with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra in Forest Park’s Kennedy Forest, to look for some.

LACAPRA: What kind of wildlife might we see in the Kennedy Forest?

Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis has some of the highest  home vacancy rates in the country, and last month the mayor of Detroit made news when he laid out ambitious plans to demolish as many as 10,000 vacant buildings by the end of his term.

With costs for maintenance and upkeep running in the tens of millions, many Rust Belt cities often find it expedient to simply demolish empty buildings in favor of vacant lots and the hope of future development.

But taking down problem properties creates a whole new set of issues which are often overlooked.

McCormack Baron Salazar

Over the past four decades Richard Baron has made a name for himself as a pioneering developer of blighted urban neighborhoods.  Baron’s firm, McCormack Baron Salazar has completed scores of projects in St. Louis and across the Midwest.  As a native of Detroit, Mich., Baron came to Missouri in the late 1960s. 

St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington sat down with Baron at a housing conference of the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he asked him to elaborate on some of the development challenges—and similarities—between Detroit and St. Louis.

(Courtesy Sauce Magazine/ by Greg Rannells)

Urban agriculture has taken root in cities everywhere, including right here in the River City.  It comes in many forms: the community garden, the backyard vegetable patch, the rooftop bee colony.  But cultivating food in town can be complicated and wrought with challenges---so what is it that’s driving some city dwellers to skip the grocery store and get their hands dirty?   Libby Franklin reports in the next of our new series Sound Bites, created in partnership with Sauce Magazine.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A taco stand shaped like a giant flying saucer was the subject of heated debate at the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen on Wednesday.

The board’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee approved a tax abatement bill which could move North Grand’s Del Taco one step closer to demolition.

The iconic gas station turned fast-food joint has become a cause célèbre among local preservationists.

Madalyn Painter / St. Louis Public Radio

This Sunday, June 26, is the First Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour--a free, self-guided tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Homes on the tour showcase renewable energy, beekeeping, composting, vegetable gardens, native plants, backyard chickens, rainwater harvesting, keeping goats, using permeable surfaces, and more.

(Ettie Berneking/St. Louis Public Radio)

Urban gardening has found a stronghold in backyard and community plots and now, with some help from one organization, urban gardening is making its move into St. Louis schools.

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model.  For awhile it was—until it wasn’t.  The high rise complex was constructed in 1954.  Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why?  That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History.   Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.