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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “urban development”

Housing Idea 4-Be Careful of Academics

I have a personal tendency to like academics and their approach to the world. Still as a practitioner of housing, I have found them to be of little benefit.

It is difficult to think of any academic idea that has substantially furthered the cause of affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning is an example of a popular academic idea. It is the policy that every housing complex that is developed needs to set aside a certain percentage of units for affordable housing. After years of talk, very few communities have initiated such policies because there is not the political will to do so. (Academics usually do not pay attention to politics). Similarly, I hear talk from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University about “organic” urban development. What does that mean? We will all long be dead and gone before we see any organic growth on the north side of St. Louis.

Hopefully you get the picture. Pay attention to people who have actually built housing, not academics. Written by Paul Dribin

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McKee Again

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

More Bad McKee Stuff

The Post had some thoroughly documented stories about Mr. McKee over the weekend. These stories which were quite difficult to follow seemed to say that once again McKee scammed the tax credit system to derive funds for projects that never materialized. Bad stuff. Written by Paul Dribin

A Good Article Defending McKee

A good article from River City Ramblings with which I agree. https://stlpolitical.blog/2018/06/26/why-paul-mckee-has-unfairly-become-a-scapegoat-for-the-city-of-st-louis

Trolleys

Brenda and I took a recent trip to France on a Rick Stieves tour. It was great. Anyway in talking with our group at dinner both a couple from Milwaukee and Omaha discussed the trolleys in their cities and what an incredible waste of money they were. It seems like bad thinking transcends local communities. (I did not see any trolleys in Paris). Written by Paul Dribin

More McKee Stuff

www.stltoday.com/business/local/after-mckee-revelations-can-city-hall-and-the-developer-work/article_3de8a615-bd0d-5a01-a5a2-29dfca791a27.html

A good article from Post about latest in McKee developments in north St. Louis. It sure appears his empire is a house of cards ready to fall.

shelterforce.org/2018/03/28/rent-control-works/

A thoughtful article about rent control

Gentrification and Urban Development

Gentrification tends to have a negative connotation with urban development junkies. Their basic premise is that higher income people move into improving neighborhoods and drive out the indigenous peoples. I have read in recent publications gentrification referred to as fascist or even compared to the army driving native Americans off tribal lands. Yet isn’t it a good thing if young people with money are willing to move into previously dangerous neighborhoods? Would St. Louis be better off with more gentrification?

For St. Louis I would argue, bring on more gentrification, we don’t have enough of it. In what neighborhoods have development activities driven out previous residents? We actually have too little gentrification. As an ideal, development efforts must include providing affordable housing and rehab funds for existing low income residents. In reality, this is hard to do. A hot market ends up driving all activity and resources for development of affordable housing are scarce. Certainly a certain number of jobs should be set aside for neighborhood residents. If we waited for the ideal conditions to develop, there would never be any neighborhood development. Written by Paul Dribin

Weird Things About City Development

Paul Krugman published an article in the New York Times which made sense. He argued that cities have not grown in a rational way because cities either allowed helter skelter development or engaged in NIMBY policies. Houston is an example of the former and San Francisco the latter. More publicity needs to be given to the discriminatory effects of exclusionary zoning in many communities.

Interesting St. Louis City seems to engage in both types of negative behavior. The city will give away the store to certain large developers but hound to death small developers with historic preservation requirements. A better balance is needed. Written by Paul Dribin

Richard Florida Now Pessimistic About Cities

Richard Florida has been quite the trendy guy in urban studies. His book about The Creative Class, captivated many people in urging that business developers, artists, techies, hipsters etc. are what cause vitality in city life. Cities all fell over themselves going after this crowd. Now he is concerned that once again city populations are declining. The number one cause of the problem?, crime.

This explanation makes sense to me. I always found Florida’s work interesting but simplistic. I glad he has come back to earth. Written by Paul Dribin

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