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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blairmont Commentary Review

The Actors - Douglas Duckworth (Random Talk on Urban Affairs, January 17): Duckworth examines the possible development perspectives involved with the plot to landbank the near northside.

McEagle's plans for McHousing on the Near North Side? (At Home blog, January 10): I don't know why I neglected to point this out last week. Hopefully y'all read it already. Stefene Russell and company make this blog, companion to At Home magazine, more timely than most of our readers would be inclined to think.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I now have an all new level of repsect for St Louis Magazine. If they pick the story up on their blog how long will it be before others write about it?

Anonymous said...

Blairmont's strategy is simple to understand and appreciate. The one word to describe it is "hedged"... it's literally that simple and is obvious to any one with a business background. By the way, the dual strategies match perfectly to their characterization in "Keep Out".

The suburban strategy works when sprawl is evident which it is in StL County and others.
The Big City strategy matches exactly to what works in the City as defined by the Big City characterization. The "lobby" scenario is oversimplified and in StL it is virtually replaced by a combination of favoritism coupled with the public's apathy in an environment desperate for tax revenues.

But the real problem in the analysis of such is the implication that one strategy "extols the market" and the other one favors insiders. Even the sprawl scenario requires government's involvement to make it successful and that is the key to understanding urban design outcomes. There is no "free market", just varying degrees and types of governmental interference, in land development.

It's wrong that hard-working and caring home owners must deal with this uncertainty, particularly the combination of well-connected businesses with less-than- honest politicians. Unfortunately, that is the history of the StL area (yes these same problems are obvious in the county but in different ways) and the problems are continuing. Local leaders have learned how to use TIFs and ED to create an unbeatable power structure that can only be reduced through better laws. The most talented voted with their feet years ago and those remaining must change the culture before a better future can be realized. Shameful but that is StL.

Anonymous said...

"The most talented voted with their feet years ago and those remaining must change the culture before a better future can be realized."

Actually, the people who left (and I question their characterization as the "most talented") are the ones who built all those sprawling sub- and ex-burbs.

"Those remaining" have to decide whether they want their former neighbors back -- or not.

PE

Anonymous said...

And considering that one of those former neighbors built winghaven, that is indeed, the question.

If "talent" comes with the trappings of exclusivity, and anything except real urbanism, I say not.

Michael Allen said...

Those who remain and those who left and want to return need to articulate their visions for contested urban space.

What process creates the opportunity for such an honest offering of visions?

Well, for one thing, the Fifth ward and the Vashon areas were subject to intense community deliberation during the recent development of land use plans.

For another, groups like the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group hold regular board and committee meetings.

There is also the chance to host a public meeting.

But do any of these processes set actual policy?

And who is willing to come to the dais and state their vision?

Honestly, given the scope of the matter, any process where visions are shared no matter how nonbinding would be a great thing.