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.
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.
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.
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.
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.