the program is corrupt but we need it
the program is corrupt but we need it
As you may know, there has been a collaborative formed to address the huge vacancy problem in St. Louis. Various task forces are meeting and I participate in two of them. Most of the people at the meetings appear to be community activists with a smattering of developers.
The discussions have generally been good but rather general in nature. We do not seem to want to address the key problems which I see as:
1. Outmoded methods of management and sales by LRA.
2. The higher cost of doing business in St. Louis.
3. Historical preservation
5. The overall oversupply of housing and undersupply of population in the region.
6. The unwillingness of the group to accept demolition.
Written by Paul Dribin
The Paul McKee effort on the north side of St. Louis appears to be going nowhere. I have been a fan of Mr. McKee and was impressed with his work at Winghaven in St. Charles County. I still believe him to be a sincere person.
The project he tried to undertake in St. Louis may have been too big for anyone to handle and he faced obstacles of community and political resistance. He certainly made his share of mistakes, especially in not engaging the community in a better manner. Nevertheless, he has not lived up to his commitment, has rehabbed almost no houses, and has needed the Geospatial Project buying out his properties to save him. Too bad. Written by Paul Dribin
At the suggestion of Todd Swanstrom, I read a book by his colleague titled Housing Dynamics in Northeast Ohio by Thomas E. Bier. The book written about the Cleveland area is also applicable to St. Louis and many other cities.
The argument in the book backed by data is that vacancies occur when there is an oversupply of housing in the region. This oversupply of housing occurs because developers are looking to profit by building more housing, and land is cheaper in the suburbs. The author points out that when there is an oversupply the oldest, most worn out housing loses all market desirability and becomes vacant. The problem is made worse because developers can more economically build in the suburbs and the infrastructure in the suburbs is stronger.
This plays out when we look at the north side of St. Louis. There will only be a turnaround if the city figures out how to streamline its development requirements, crime is controlled, and schools turn around. In addition a marketing campaign to young people around the company would help. We could offer free housing and lots of land. Written by Paul Dribin
Local activists are missing the boat as usual. They complain about any effort on the part of the city to support middle income and upper income development. The city has too little of this population. Any efforts to improve the lives of poor people also requires middle class people to migrate into the city. Efforts to only help poor people are short sighted. Written by Paul Dribin
Today, 9/21, I attended a housing summit here in St. Louis at Christ Church Cathedral downtown. The idea of the summit was to start to build a coalition to develop more affordable housing in St. Louis and end homelessness. There were approximately 300 people in attendance including some homeless people. The speakers were good, enthusiasm high. Let’s hope for the best. Written by Paul Dribin
Little is happening in this arena. KWMU came upon a renegotiation agreement that requires relatively little of the northside group to keep the deal going. As I have said, I know McKee and consider him an honorable purchase. I think he has been squeezed by too many parties in the city. Written by Paul Dribin
Professor Todd Swanstrom wrote a wonderful article that I read in Urban Observatory. In that article he very intelligently took apart much of the misinformation in St. Louis. Advocates have decried any effort at city development that does not specifically address poor people. They complain that gentrification is moving poor people out of the central corridor and the Tower Grove area. Professor Swanstrom points out the data does not support this assumption. True gentrification requires a substantial increase in housing costs that drive out poor people. This is not happening in St. Louis. The contrary problem has taken place; depopulation of many areas of the city.
You would think we would welcome development with open arms. Oh well!
An interesting article from the Times. A New York City neighborhood builds more mixed income housing in an effort to increase affordable housing. Some neighborhood residents complain they will be pushed out. There do not seem to be any good answers. Written by Paul Dribin