We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Re-roofing the projects

The St. Louis Housing Authority is remodeling the low-rise Clinton-Peabody housing project south of downtown. Part of this redesign includes the ludicrous addition of hipped roofs to the formerly flat-roofed buildings of the project. Some of the new roofs are in place, and the result is not pleasant. The buildings, once very modest and modern, now sport distracting hats. The point of the project eludes me. What do new roofs have to do with the lives of residents? If anything, they degrade the Clinton-Peabody project further through pure bad taste.

My other question is concerning the hipped roofs: Are they supposed to emulate those on the City Hospital? I can't see any other connection with the surrounding Near South Side, on which the hipped roof is not unusually prevalent.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Smart Growth?

On the H-URBAN discussion list, Alexander Schulenburg mentions "a Proclamation entitled 'Prohibiting New Building or Subdividing of Houses', which was issued on 7 July 1580 (22 Elizabeth I) commanded people to 'desist and forbear from any new buildings of any house or tenement within three miles from any gates of the said city of London [...] where no former house hath been known to have been in the memory of such as are now living.'"

Monday, May 16, 2005

Saving Modernism in St. Louis

The New York Times Magazine asks: Is It Time for the Preservation of Modernism?

St. Louis answers:

On the matter of Northland Shopping Center: No.

On the matter of Truman Restorative Center: No.

On the matter of Busch Memorial Stadium: Yes!?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Film: "Confluence: The River Heritage of St. Louis"

From the events listing in the newest issue of The Commonspace:

Thursday, May 19
Film: "Confluence: The River Heritage of St. Louis"
Missouri History Museum, Lindell & DeBaliviere in Forest Park
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-454-3150, www.mohistory.org

Documentarian James F. Scott has made a film exploring our city's relationship and development with regard to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers (remember them? Yeah, we really are built along rivers, even if we don't act like it). Big-time Post-Dispatch reporter Bill Lambrecht, author of a new book on a similar theme, will be one of the panelists sticking around after the film to continue the discussion on the relevance of rivers to today's civic and cultural life in St. Louis.

Blocking Streets in Gravois Park?

Alderman Craig Schmid of the 20th Ward sent the following e-mail to the Gravois Park listserv outlining proposed changes to the street grid in that area of the city. These changes are the tired and ineffective methods of blocking streets and turning others one-way. In Forest Park Southeast, barriers and one-way streets have created fertile pockets for criminal activity and abandonment -- check out the 4400 blocks of Swan, Norfolk and Vista to see what effect barriers have on a neighborhood. We're fighting to get ours removed!

Feel free to give Alderman Schmid your two cents. He's the only south side alderperson who seems to have genuine progressive inclinations, and usually is reasonable. He may be persuaded.

From: "craig schmid"
Subject: [gravoispark] Proposed barricades and one-way streets to keep non-resident criminals out of area.
Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 23:13:28 -0500

> Greetings:
> The police major for the South Patrol Division has compiled
> statistics to show that 2/3 of the folks arrested in our area come
> from outside of the neighborhoods. Therefore, he is committed to
> working with the City and neighborhoods to install barricades and
> one-way streets to deal with the easy accessibility of our
> neighborhoods to criminals. These are just proposals (which are in a
> number of wards), but the intent would be to try to put them in place
> by June. Let me know what you think.
> Texas south of Arsenal; Juniata east of Minnesota; Nebraska
> north of Juniata; Ohio south of Arsenal; Pennsylvania south of
> Wyoming; Winnebago west of Jefferson; California north of alley to the
> north of Chippewa; Osage west of Broadway; Ohio south of Gasconade;
> Compton between Osage and Gasconade [Marquette Park].
> Change 36xx Iowa to one-way north (was south); Meramec from
> Broadway to California one-way west; Osage from Virginia to Louisiana
> one-way west; Osage from Virginia to Compton one-way east; Miami from
> Arkansas to Grand one-way west; Osage from Tennessee to Louisiana
> one-way east (neighbor suggests one way west); Osage from Virginia to
> Louisiana one-way west (neighbor suggests one way east from Louisiana
> to Compton); Louisiana 34xx block one-way north (neighbor sugggests
> leaving two-way); 35xx Pennsylvania one-way north (was south); 36xx
> Iowa one-way north (was south); Jefferson one way east from Texas to
> Jefferson.
> Thanks.
> Craig

Monday, May 9, 2005

News from the Stockyards

Just posted today: East St. Louis, Illinois: "Hog Capital of the Nation" by Thomas Petraitis.

In other National City Stockyards news, workers are somewhat crudely removing and palletizing the last remaining paving blocks in the vicinity of the Armour Packing plant. Another crew is once again working on demolishing the Hunter Packing Co. plant. That demolition had started once before, in 2003, and had stropped for over a year. Now it's proceeding, but at a speed unknown to us.

Monday, May 2, 2005

The Case of the Stained Glass Bandit -- And His Patrons

In the latest Riverfront Times comes this article: The Case of the Stained Glass Bandit by Kristen Hinman. Hinman does a decent job of reporting on the story, and talked with the right people, but the fact that she doesn't mention which dealers bought the stolen windows is distressing. The captured thief surely divulged his patrons' names, and that would be available publicly.

The article seems to imply that this thief is more responsible for the rash of stolen windows than the unscrupulous dealers who fuel the thievery by fencing stolen goods. Ten guys will step in to fill Tanter's place -- and the dealers will buy from them, too, so long as out-of-town buyers can be had...