Urban Planners talk about the need for community involvement in neighborhood development. That is good. Similarly, public housing residents need to have their ideas included in planning for the future of their developments. Yet, in St. Louis I sometimes think democracy has gone overboard. It seems that everyone no matter how wacky their idea has an equal say in the future of our communities. I certainly see that problem in the failure of the McKee effort to redevelop north St. Louis. People get worn out and nickel and dimed.
My first job with HUD was to insure and improve tenant participation in public housing. In all, participation tended to be low. Poor people participate less in public life less than wealthier people, that is partially why they are poor. More important, they simply lack the time for civic involvement.
A concrete example. The Darst-Webbe Hope VI redevelop[ment required tenant involvement. The remaining few tenants in the failed original project refused to be supportive of a complete demolition and redevelopment. Why? They were selling drugs and didn’t want that activity disrupted. It has always puzzled me why tenants of public housing appear to have more say in the running of their project than other properties. All political theorists have agreed that direct democracy is a poor form of government. They are right. Written by Paul Dribin
Ideas About Housing
1. Housing alone will not solve the problems of poverty. It is a necessary but not sufficient situation. In my long tenure of affordable housing, I have rarely seen people who are decently housed turn their life around. Usually there are other significant issues facing their lives, unemployment, drugs, family disjunction, bad boyfriends, wasteful spending etc. That is why supportive services are necessary. Even a better solution would be to provide low income people cash transfers rather than services.
There were two recent polls, one in which St. Louis was negatively mentioned, and another where St. Louis was ominously omitted. The first was a ranking by MoneyWise Magazine which ranked St. Louis as the worst place in the United States in which to retire. This ranking was largely based on crime. The second index ranked the 25 places in which young people are ready to move. St. Louis was not on the list(Kansas City was). These polls by themselves are not significant but fit an overall pattern outlining the negative aspects of St. Louis life. Written by Paul Dribin
good article as always by David Nicklaus. I believe anything in this direction is good
the scooters can be dangerous to everyone but seem to be a good thing in promoting v
I question whether we need this. There are too many economic development groups already with lots of high paid staff and little in the way of results. Many question the need for economic development organizations. Written by Paul Dribin