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Friday, February 22, 2008

Demolition Imminent at Page and Kingshighway?


On January 10, the city's Building Division issued emergency condemnation (for demolition) of the landmark building at the southeast corner of Page and Kingshighway boulevards. The Roberts Brothers Properties LLC owns the building and two adjacent two-story commercial buildings. A motorist struck and toppled the corner iron column on the building, which has been vacant for a year or two since Golden Furniture moved out. The Building Division has not yet followed up with any emergency demolition permit, although such action is almost certain. (Curious Feet St. Louis reported the news awhile ago.)



The loss of the corner column has already led to significant shifting of the building's weight downward at the corner. The brick wall shows how the bottom of the second floor is pulling downward. At the moment, this is a problem that can be corrected with a jack or another iron column. (What happened to the building's original column? Why not just re-install it?)



The situation has become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies that dampens one's attempt to be hopeful for the commercial buildings of north St. Louis. Here we have beautiful commercial buildings that define a major intersection, and which were in use until recently. A big-time owner lets leases lapse, perhaps plotting demolition for replacement with some silly strip mall like the owner's project across Page. Then, an accident happens. The Building Division steps in, goes through its procedures, while the owner does nothing. The owner does not jack up the corner with a support, which would avert further damage. The corner pulls down, triggering a major collapse. The Building Division rushes in to get demolition started. The owner sits back and lets events unfold, while hatching plans for new development. Preservation and minimal code enforcement never had chances.

This is frustrating because the building is elegant and obviously in decent shape. The Roberts brothers could view ownership of these buildings as great fortune -- they get to possess unique historic buildings at a major intersection. They get to take a step to ensure that north city retains the level of historic character that makes real estate in south city so valuable. They could renew a cultural resources and pave the way for long-term rising of real estate values in north city, instead of falling into the temptation to build a short-lived retail center with short-term pay-off.

The Building Division is not a preservation agency. Yet the Building Division could step in and make the owners put a support at the corner. After all, that's stipulated by the building code. The owners' intentions should not influence the Building Division's enforcement. Whether or not the owners want to tear down the buildings is a moot point until there is a demolition permit. Up to that point, the division should seek to force the owners to make repairs of structural necessity.

Beyond code enforcement, preservation makes sense. Page Boulevard has many threats to corner commercial buildings at the moment, and has already lost several. Kingshighway north of Delmar is likewise losing its lines of commercial buildings. Presence of anchor landmarks sometimes makes the difference between people remembering having been to a neighborhood or not. These buildings are in Fountain Park, which possesses a memorable interior. Yet its perimeter would lose a little less character with the loss of these buildings. The oval park, the famous curved storefront, the historic homes, schools and churches present a distinct and impressive identity. A corner strip mall, festooned with a developer's name, with litter blowing across black asphalt in front of squat little retail boxes demonstrates no distinct character and in fact could have a blighting effect on neighboring block that retain their character. Fountain Park is a little less remarkable with every lost landmark.

These buildings are inherently remarkable, too. Built between 1904 and 1908 from designs by architect Otto J. Wilhelmi, the group shows a mix of modern sensibility and Victorian-era stylishness. The two-story buildings are rather plain expressions of the commercial storefront form while three three-story building is a blend of stark iron storefronts, paired Romanesque windows with pronounced archivolts on the second floor and windows with terra cotta keystones and voussoirs that suggest the Georgia Revival style. Then there is the white glazed terra cotta ornament of the parapet, which draws upon Classical Revival styles and features a projecting acanthus and the corner and near the south end. The building permit for the building mentions a galvanized cornice, long-gone. All three buildings are clad in buff speckled brick prevalent in north city commercial architecture of the period. In all, the buildings are unusually eclectic for this part of north city -- and that statement means a lot. If only the owners recognized the treasures that they already have.

35 comments:

Vanishing STL said...

I'm not an engineer (but I am an architect), and from looking at photos of the building by Claire, Doug and you, this looks like something a couple of screw jacks would fix temporarily by jacking up the masonry and sagging lintel back into place and then welding a new pipe column under the corner. All and all a pretty simple fix.

john w. said...

I drive by this building often on may way into town (southbound from I-70), and I recall there being some sort of temporary screwjack and timbers a few months back. It's clear that the intent of the owner is to allow the damage to continue at an accelerated rate in order to justify the approval of an emergency demolition permit. It's just more of the same, really. I had dinner last night in Soulard, and while driving through the streets of this fantasticly preserved historic neighborhood treasure I thought about how north St. Louis must have been even as recent as 40 years ago. Though a comparison of Soulard and north city is obviously disproportionate and implausible, and contrasting is unfortunately now more in order, what is clear is that neighborhoods that value historic artifact, and especially that which is perfectly salvageable, stand the best chance of attracting new residents and businesses BECAUSE of the pride in heritage of architectural history. While clearly some of the ruin must be cleared for more viable structures, it's these fantastic intersection corner anchorages that are the MOST important. These are the moorings that allow the continuation of building along the length of streets and establish hierchical order. At least two of Kevin Lynch's five elements of city imaging are inherent street intersection corners (Node and Edge) such as at the corner of Kingshighway and Page, and to remove what urban quality is already present seems more than counterintuitive but plainly stupid. Likely any modern attempt to replace (with poor imitation through needless replication) the architectural splendor that sits awaiting fate will fall short of the potential that the artifact can offer to neighborhood revitalization. The recent loss of the assemblage of artifacts at the intersection of St. Louis Avenue and Glasgow Street and countless others is proof that there is on overpowering agenda of replacement rather than restoration.

Doug Duckworth said...

It's pretty much ridiculous.

Jeff said...

The fact that the city is going to passively allowing this building to be destroyed is precisely why St. Louis will continue to lose its urbanite population in favor of cities that actually "get it." So many other cities would bend over backwards to protect a building like this, and St. Louis disposes of it. It's time this city gets its head out of its ass. Vacant lots and strip malls do not create an interesting and vibrant city. This is not a hard concept to grasp. But then again, common sense was never a hallmark when it comes to development in this city.

Joe Edwards, Bob Casilly-- help!

john w. said...

I begrudgingly concur with Jeff's sentiment, but I believe it's the interested blog posters such as us that can begin to get the word out, and not wait around for Joe Edwards or Rollin Stanley's eventual replacement to make a stand and stop the bleeding. I was just over at VanishingSTL (Paul's blog), and some Webster University student is making some sort of documentary regarding just such efforts. I'm still relatively new to this city, so don't be surprised if I seem naive when I say that it seems there is something growing out of these blogs, and the numbers of recognizable blogger IDs tells me it's not just a passing interest, like in an article in the RFT for instance. If a 'battleground' area can be defined, it becomes a bit easier to defend, and north city seems to be ground zero for senseless removal of historic urban form via scorched earth tactics. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so.

GMichaud said...

The laws are in place to make the Roberts Brothers maintain this building, the city chooses not to enforce them. I have seen the city counselor's office harass the hell of of owners of property in Lafayette Square and on Cherokee antique row over relatively minor offenses compared to this.
They drag people into court, fine them and do everything in their power to make the land owner comply with city regs. Obviously that is not happening in this case.
I was involved with a top 10 problem property group in St. Louis County a few years ago. The group consisted of police officers, public works, the building department, attorneys from the county, nonprofit developers and concerned citizens. It is and was effective in curtailing situations like this. It was a unified effort (and still is) that got results. After problems were solved other properties were moved into the top ten (the complete list was always around 100 properties).
If the city does not act, perhaps a citizens group should be formed based on the template of St Louis County and their efforts. Various city departments can be invited. But I have felt for some time it may be necessary for the citizens to form their own government within the shell of the old. It is clear city government represents the Roberts Brothers and insiders like them, but not the citizens of St. Louis.

john w. said...

And that's because no one has challenged them to date, and their natural assumption is that no one cares about a largely forlorn wasteland like north city. A well-organized, concerted effort that can demonstrate alternatives to wonton demolition of historic architecture may just give them the pause that could save a lot of what remains. I'm just sickened by the demolition of the attractive Italianate Pruitt's store building appropos to it's corner lot location (at St. Louis Avenue and Glasgow Street), and when I see the list of threatened buildings on this blog, B.E.L.T. and VanishingSTL, to name just a few, it makes me think there must be others out there willing to form some sort of knowledgeable and motivated group interested in not only preservation of history by proposal of good urban design in conjunction.

john w. said...

It seems that groups like Revitalize STL would provide some sort of venue for action, but the website doesn't give great detail as to what they might do with respect to urban action. I attended a tour in Midtown cosponsored by this group last weekend, but I'm wondering what else they may do related to this discussion thread.

Anonymous said...

John

Your posts in this thread nicely highlight the tension inherent in this overall situation.

On the one hand, you point out the importance of historic preservation.

Then in a later post you describe North City as a "largely forlorn wasteland".

Historic preservation is a good thing. Describing the north side as a wasteland hardly attracts interest in doing so.

john w. said...

Anonymous- the point being made is that there is literally a wasteland becoming more barren as the months roll on. The extent of the decay is astonishing, as many of these interlinked blogs have thoroughly documented. If you're somehow offended by my description, I apologize as clearly that is not the intent of the post, but I hardly think expressions of exasperation such as mine, which BTW are not at all inaccurate, should be the focus of the discussion.

Doug Duckworth said...

Presupposing some areas are a "wasteland," it is only so because of aldermen who are wholly bereft of innovation and leadership, bordering on dereliction of duty. What I see is a fundamental failure of local government.

john w. said...

Though I don't know much about the alderpersons in (any part of the city, admittedly), it certainly seems as if the neighborhoods of north city are without effective representation. The allowance of the brick rustling alone says that the situation is one of resignation. With violent crime, lack of quality public education and high unemployment to contend with, it's obviously not without reason that historic preservation of existing vacant buildings is not a top priority. Outside groups working with inside community members to take up some of the work of preservation and revitalization is likely more expedient and effective than relying on those currently frying bigger fish. Of course, this assumes that the work being conducted by alderpersons in these struggling neighborhoods is focused on the crises mentioned above. I thought I'd just point out a few word definitions to clarify my use in previous posts. Please do not blame me for Mirriam-Webster's definition of terms that fairly apply to north city. Please read, from Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: for·lorn Pronunciation: \fər-ˈlȯrn, fȯr-\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English forloren, from Old English, past participle of forlēosan to lose, from for- + lēosan to lose — more at lose Date: before 12th century
1 a: bereft, forsaken left quite forlorn of hope b: sad and lonely because of isolation or desertion : desolate a forlorn landscape2: being in poor condition : miserable, wretched forlorn tumbledown buildings 3: nearly hopeless a forlorn attempt
synonyms see alone
— for·lorn·ly adverb
— for·lorn·ness \-ˈlȯrn-nəs\ noun


Main Entry: waste·land Pronunciation: \ˈwāst-ˌland also -lənd\ Function: noun Date: 14th century
1 : barren or uncultivated land a desert wasteland 2 : an ugly often devastated or barely inhabitable place or area 3 : something (as a way of life) that is spiritually and emotionally arid and unsatisfying

Anonymous said...

There are parts of north city which are indeed wastelands. There are also parts which are strong communities.

Things are much more complicated - and localized - than the broad brush impressions so often gained through media or blog exposure.

Not knowing alderman, then generalizing re. the poor representation being provided is another such broad brush reference.

Most alderman are hard working, popular, individuals. They need our support to be more effective.

Criticizing them endlessly merely reduces our own voice and urban usefulness.

john w. said...

criticism is appropriate if deserved, but I think describing the criticism as endless is just as broad a brush stroke as you claim the criticism is. I'm really confused as to why you would take up issue with semantic nuances in posts rather than discussing the principal issue of the thread. Are you an alderperson? Can you personally vouge for the actions and effectiveness of alderpersons? If not, I'm sure that you have any more argumentative foundation than I do. This issue seems to be about the unfortunate trend of demolition of architectural history, and I'm not sure why the discussion should be diverted to measuring the validity of a descriptor used in a post.

Doug Duckworth said...

An alderman with leadership wouldn't allow the Building Division to demolish this wonderful building.

An alderman with fortitude would convince the Robert's Brothers to fix the building or sell to someone who will.

Aldermen are involved in real estate deals all the time. They have the capacity to intervene in such a decision like this one. However they don't see buildings like these as worthy of such efforts, especially when they are owned by the powerful Robert's Brothers. Rather it is politically safe to argue that the Robert's Brothers negligence is their right as property owners.

With such leadership, we can expect every major intersection on the North Side to be reduced to vacant lots or strip malls. Once occupied and viable buildings will be razed. And I shouldn't criticize aldermen? Laughable!

The entire system failed long ago. The outcomes are obvious.

john w. said...

Amen. I believe there are enough of us to get the word out, and from what I've been reading on these great interlinked blogs there is no shortage of passion and great ideas. A well-organized group of urbanists can effectively mobilize where a target work area is clearly defined and recognizable, and from this, actionable plans will form. The Baltimore tax credit program provides a great example of what could be a tangible goal for this city, for instance, and coupling that with visible preservation and new development proposals from urbanists, some real measurable results are within range. Proposing something, even something purely hypothetical, that could show the value of historic architecure to revitalization effort would be a strong start. Focusing on the decimated neighborhood of the near north side in the 5th Ward as a target work area is such an example. Demonstrating how the existing but threatened buildings at the corner of Page and Kingshighway could establish a beginning or end point for block infill, using the cues provided by the architectural language of these great artifacts is another example. There are many urbanists, despite full, busy lives, that would not only be willing to contribute to such efforts but would in fact revel in such an opportunity. What seems alarmingly clear is that doing nothing will ensure the erasure of what architectural history still remains, and likely any real chance some of these neighborhoods will have at attracting new commerce and homebuyers.

Anonymous said...

Lovingly not singing from the pages of the same urbanist's songbook, I ask the question, have any of you ever analyzed the financial feasibility of rehabbing a *severely* dilapidated building in North St. Louis, especially one miles away from Old North (like this one)?

It's easy to blame aldermen and the Robertses for not spending their money, but, hey, they're are invested in North City.

Most people aren't. So let's malign the Robertses. Yeah, *that's* productive! Not.

Michael R. Allen said...

Here comes the old gambit of discrediting critics raising cultural and architectural issues because they can't buy and rehab every building in the city themselves. The posters here can discuss their qualifications if they please; I happen to know most of them and think Anonymous may be surprised at the depth of these folks' involvement in northside rehab work.

Who cares how close this building is to Old North? You know what neighborhood is south of here? The Central West End! In terms of proximity to highly-valued rehab neighborhoods, this building is doing better where it is than if it were on Florissant Avenue.

Sure, developers follow the market. But guess who usually discovers the market first? Critics, analysts and others spotting trends. People exult the abiulity of developers but don't want to admit that developers often move too slow to be innovative. The historic rehab tax credit has made many millionaires, but its early proponents were those pesky preservationists, not real estate developers who were busy rationalising the continued demolition of downtown buildings now worth tens of millions of dollars. Preservationists advocated for the credit because it was good policy, and developers eventually responded by using the credit to great extent. Both sides got they wanted -- but both would have had far less (fewer buildings and fewer profits) if the preservationists had not organized and made the case for a new law.

While the Roberts brothers certainly have done good work -- much of it historic preservation work nowadays -- they are limited by the realm of the possible. They don't risk money left and right following ideas. Nor should they. But they should -- and probably do -- appreciate the insight and imagination offered by critics and others who dare to dream about transcending the limits of "why?" to get to "why not?"

Developers and bureaucrats are conservative, and often try to shoot down new ideas. Our city's political system leads to many occasions where a John or a Doug is told to get lost. But I don't even have enough fingers to count the times when the same bureaucrats are using the "unrealistic" ideas of the critics years later. After all, there is such a poverty of imagination in our political system that anyone wishing to make deep change need only repeat herself for awhile before someone in power will just take the idea and run with it. Then we start to see progress.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

The question was not whether or the critics are rehabbing buildings, but rather, whether they've ever analyzed the financial requirements to do so.

It's one thing to recommend historic rehab for social reasons, it's another to look at the total picture.

Also, while the Roberts may not be able to financially justify the rehab of the Page and Kingshighway building, they are building new streetscapes of green homes for homebuyers in North City.

And, let's remember, they were the ones to reopen the old Sears store on North Kingshighway, one of the first major rehabs of a commercial building in North City.

Doug Duckworth said...

Justify the rebab? The building isn't some shell and could probably be easily fixed. Regardless, the minor problem isn't cause to demolish the entire building. If they don't want to fix it then stabilize it and sell it. I mean come on, at least put up a for sale sign and see what happens. Why hastily rush for demolition? That's negligence.

Anonymous said...

Doug,

It may not look like a shell, but it probably needs a gut rehab.

You can't tell from the outside. It's over a hundred years old, and has been underutilized for how long?

It's worn out, tired, and in need of major work.

The Robertses don't do the labor themselves; they pay for it, probably at union scale.

Run the numbers, cost versus return, then say whether the investment makes sense.

Doug Duckworth said...

So they couldn't secure some tax abatement or even a TIF for the rehab? Obviously the answer to this is yes. We issue TIF's for Walgreens. I wonder if they considered this in their estimations?

Moreover, I do wonder why the Mt. Cabanne/Raymond Place District did not extend to the other side of Kingshighway? To have an historic district terminate, and have one side of a commercial intersection covered and the other not, is rather odd. If the other side, at least a few parcels east, was in the district, then State and Federal Historic Tax Credits would be available.

Anonymous said...

Doug,

You're still not answering the basic question. Forget all the fancy government programs.

How much are rents in this area? How much is the cost of rehab?

Do rents justify the rehab? If not, then start layering in subsidy.

Let's start with rents. Anyone know how much an office or storefront at this location rents for per month?

If you want to influence the development process, you have to speak the language of developers.

Chris said...

Wow, anonymous is gettin' schooled!

john w. said...

Anonymous- How many times do you need to read posts that unequivocally state that whatever layer of subsidy or protective measure can be used should be used to save historic architecture before you get the idea? Urbanists are not posting in these blogs trying to make the argument that rehabilitation of historic architecture compares dollar for dollar with newly constructed buildings in the eyes of profit-seeking developers. If the owners of landmark buildings or otherwise historic architecture cannot make the numbers pencil out themselves, then they should try to sell the property to other parties willing to try. As this is a capitalist country bent on so-called free market consumerism, property owners have the ultimate right to decide the direction of the development of their property within the confines of zoning and building codes, or any other ordained municipal restrictions, so it's up to urbanists to make the compelling argument.

barbara_on_19th said...

John W, I'm a northsider and appreciate your support for the area, in that you advocate people working together for change, and you clearly see the potential for adaptive reuse, and you support the renaissance which is slowly spreading across the north side.

But, when you say things like "forlorn wasteland" and "violent crime", you buy into and perpetuate a narrative that others use to devalue and demean the entire city north of Delmar. Forlorn means hopeless, I get it... but north city has many hopeful supporters. Wasteland means nasty, I get it... you really want to call my home nasty? You sound like a nice person, so I doubt it.

Check your facts. The northside is no more violent overall than the south. CWE is 10x more dangerous than the next-most dangerous neighborhood citywide. Soulard & downtown are also way up there in terms of muggings, etc, simply because of their economic success and presence of bars, tipsy folks and wallets with cash in them.

Please be aware that St Louis is the 4th most segregated city in the nation and Delmar/MLK is the defacto color line. When you buy into these narratives, you have to remember that they are racist narratives and check your facts before you get drawn into a storyline that you surely do not support.

For instance, we have a prominent and wealthy St Charles developer going around and saying things like "we need to bulldoze the ghetto". Ya know, once you herd the unwanted minority out of sight, it is easy to destroy their homes and drive them away. Or his good buddy Peter Kinder echoing the "bulldoze" sentiment and saying things like "looks like Dresden after WW2". Ummm, no. We are not the enemy and we are not defeated. A third line I have heard too many times is "time to run the n* out of Germantown". My heart just about stopped. For god's sake, this isn't Forsyth County, GA, and in any case, it is 2008!!! Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

This has been going on for a long long time up here. Demonize and demo. Drive the hope away with a sharp stick. Talk about violent crime and FUBAR public schools as though those things don't exist south of MLK. Tell the rehabbers they are crazy people who can't figure out a budget. Decline to sell car insurance north of Delmar, in a neighborhood with better crime stats than St Louis Hills. Tell the kids to buy their first home "south of Delmar and west of Kingsway". My favorite... "people don't live there"... what am I, a carpenter ant? Guess what, real human-type people live here and WANT to live here.

Yes, the existing northside community wants development -- new housing, shops, and lot of church parking ;-) But, respectful development WITH the residents welcome, not racial cleansing. Mill Creek Valley... the Team 4 Plan... Paul McKee... I am sure you want to distance yourself from that distasteful narrative.

If you would like a tour of northside neighborhoods drop me a line, I'd be happy to meet you at Crown Candy, buy you an ice cream cone, and show you around north city, from ONSL to Baden to Fountain Park. It will take your breath away to spend an hour in on the northside and then cross Delmar heading south.

I'm serious... take the tour!

Oh, and don't feed the "Anonymous" concern trolls, it just encourages them.

Barbara Manzara
3202 N 19th St
314-238-4032
manzarbe@hotmail.com

Doug Duckworth said...

I love blogging!

john w. said...

I've got no argument with anyone who understands the point of my posts, and I again apologize if anyone is offended by a characterization, but please know that I'm referring to the growing wave of senseless destruction of architectural history and not the residents who remain, or who wish to see the renaissance flourish. I believe the argument is a good one, and is well-placed, but while I offer an apology for a few words I would rather focus on the point of the argument with respect to the discussion. Clearly, my use of those two words has not set well with at least a couple of those who've bothered to post in this thread, but I'm going to assume we can move beyond that. I would be honored to have you conduct a tour of these areas of north city, as I have read your posts and believe you have an insight that I could never have as an 'outsider'. I'm not sure that simply ignoring those who post as "Anonymous" is what I'll do, but appreciate the distance this discussion thread has traveled. I'm truly encouraged.

GMichaud said...

One problem is that there is not an effective city plan. If there were, then any questions about the building would be answered.
The same type of building should replace the one that is already there.
If you are designing a city to be energy efficient, to become green; the ability to walk becomes important. Close spaces on the street are exactly what should be on this corner. Parking should go behind or perhaps the street.
This type of structure also uses less energy than stand alone structures.
The city has no philosophy and no leadership in this regard.
This and other blogs supply that philosophy and by extension the leadership. Perhaps the major function of the blogs is to fulfill that philosophy. Writing and speaking cause change, that is democracy correct?
And when you have better ideas, then change has a direction and meaning. In this case the city has no ideas so the leadership position is very easy to attain.

It seems to me at this juncture in our history we should be debating how to create "green cities".
If the city government will not take a leadership role, then the blogs should step up and fill the void.

john w. said...

And then it needs to jump out of the blogs and onto the public scene with some real visibility. Defining some focus areas and generating interest in competitions or other means of publicity-garnering events would be a real start.

Anonymous said...

It is disappointing that Barbara would use a post that includes the phrase "check your facts" to pass along a major whopper of her own.

Her statement "Please be aware that St Louis is the 4th most segregated city in the nation" is simply not true.

While there is plenty of work to be done to make the City more diverse, St. Louis is actually the fifth most integrated large city in the country.

According to a block-by-block analysis of fifty of the country's cities, St. Louis finished behind only Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Nashville, and Jacksonville -- and just ahead of Memphis, Columbus, Indianapols, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.

Check your facts?

Here's a link.

http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/ETI/integration/integration.pdf

PE

barbara_on_19th said...

PublicEye, why so unpleasantly ad hominem? As a paid public relations guru for the city, don't you want to make nice with the voters?

It is hardly telling a "whopper" to mention a Census Bureau report (CENSR-3, pg 68) while arguing that demonizing north city is part of a long-standing racist narrative.

I know the city gov't wants to refute negative press by attacking methodologies, and I can't say that it is a bad approach. I'm forever explaining to people that the city crime rankings are massively unfair when you rank tiny little urban core of St Louis City without its suburbs against the entire sprawling Dallas metro area.

But why attack me, a staunch city supporter, while I am out there staunchly supporting the city? Why not just say, hey, I know the study you mention and I have something to bring to your attention. I'd engage. I'd get into the fine print with you.

As an aside, are you really arguing that the population of north city is not largely African-American? If that were the case, I would expect the city to be ending the shamefully racially congruent conservation district program, or at least extending equal protection under the building code to the kids of the 5th Ward... any time now. (Still waiting!)

And your link don't work.
Here ya go... mine first and then yours.
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/papertoc.html
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/ETI/integration/QuinnCensus.pdf

Anonymous said...

lol. Neither of your links works either. We may both need remedial cyber help.

The Wisconsin study is worth reading: it takes the same Census data you cited (or, like me, tried to) and considers the ratios of blacks and whites living in cities by block (i.e., the way people actually live), rather than by Census Tract.

The point of the study is to help communities better understand themselves.

There is no denying that parts of the City look like most of the county: largely segregated in both housing and business. However, it is an equally important error to deny that many residential parts of the City are integrated by race.


PE

christian said...

Sickening waste. If informed planners and "civic leaders" agree that scorched-earth urban renewal approaches were a disaster, why can't they get hip to the idea that continuous erosion of the fabric with spot demolitions is, ultimately, just as wasteful and unnecessary? It's frustrating that we have to have the same debate, decade after decade, building after building, neighborhood after neighborhood, until whoooooops, in the words of Papa Hemingway, "St. Louis is a good place...to be from." Are we just incapable of learning, even from our own recent history? I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no surer emblem of entrenched, civic self-loathing than this sort of idiotic, short-sighted, architectural cannibalism.

john w. said...

And so we have to get to work showing how these historic artifacts should be seen as valuable to the revitalization. I personally believe these corner buildings, especially the ones in such salvageable condition, are indispensible. Why remove what already represents one the best architectural resolutions to urban intersection corners, only to at best replace or at worst dimish the current value? Illustrating how these historic buildings can be incorporated into new urban infill, block by block, by providing the new infill with cues to architectural form and language and thus complemented appropriately.