Monday, May 11, 2009

If Blogs United

What would the top issues be? Here's a list of possible items...

The schism over the San Luis

Reconnecting the Arch/downtown - A lid or?

Form-based zoning

Empowering city planning efforts

Historic preservation, tax credits

Downtown development, public financing incentives

Public school reform

What does this list suggest? Urban blogs must be dominated by city planners and architecture enthusiasts, because most of the stuff on this list is built- environment related.

Outside of the built environment, what are the other top issues that might be addressed?


Anonymous said...

Local control over the police?

You hardly ever see bloggers write about that.

Anonymous said...

City County unification?

Suits said...

Bowood Farms' destructive plans for the northern Central West End?

Rick Bonasch said...

As ubiquitous as the internet is, I don't think it would be very effective at changing results on something like the Bowood situation. Number one, I'm not sure there's a real community consensus on the topic in the first place.

Either way, at the block level of community issues, face to face contacts, meeting with neighbors, various officials, and the business owners would be much more effective than broadcasting over the internet.

Another challenge with the internet is that it's easy to raise an issue to public attention, but that doesn't always mean that it's been raised in a timely manner or with the target audience.

Anonymous said...

McNorth Park

MvxzW said...

Another topic could be public transit. Metro now has a blog at . A working transit system is vital to urban issues. Metro needs all the support it can get to keep buses and trains rolling.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,

Hope your summer's going well. We need to get together before the summer's over!

Am finishing a Caribbean vacation in St. Kitts, in the British West Indes, thought I'd catch up on STL Rising. Spending time in a beautiful, yet generally poor nation, got me thinking about how good we have it in the States -- but also about some fundamental problems/opportunities we have.

As I sat in hotel, saw this older blog entry. Coincidentally, I've been thinking the same thing lately and was happy you'd asked the question.

My answer to your Blogs United question: pushing overall development of the area. Maybe that sounds vague. Let me explain.

If you look at the STL area over the last 30 years, you see one constant: STL piddling along while other cities race pass us. Kind of like Bill Bidwell's ownership of the old football Cardinals. No matter the specific coach or players, outside of a couple good years, there was one constant: 25 years of lackluster, average-to-below average football from the same owner. While perhaps exaggerating a bit to make a point, I see our area in much the same terms.

30 years ago, STL was a top 10 market (metro area.) Comparable in size to Dallas. Today, we're barely in top 20. We continue to grow in population -- that's good -- but at a snail's pace. Other markets have been stealing our lunch money for years.

We bemoan the closing, selling, relocation of longstanding St. Louis businesses. But where is the regionwide strategic planning for the next wave of corporate relocation and business development? Yes, St. Louis City has a department that works on it. So does the County. But real growth for the Metro area will be fueled by a region-wide plan to attract and grow businesses who employ people. Can you recall even one instance of a regionwide offer being made to attract and relocate an out-of-town business to the Loo?

Too much of our conversation is fueled by parochial concerns of corporation A leaving downtown and moving to Clayton -- or vice versa. That's a zero sum game. Just moves money around. To large degree, same with TIFs.

That's not to say there are no good things happening or that local development isn't good. There are nice things happening, obviously. Citygarden. Development on Macklind. Ballpark Village (eventually! :)) Controversial or not, Paul McKee's development has tons of potential. I agree with John Danforth, we need to redevelop the Arch grounds, lid the depressed lanes, blah, blah, blah. Heck, I'd LOVE a River Des Peres beautification!! But while nice and certainly exciting and worthwhile, I see all of these as incremental only.

I'm not a pessimistic guy as you well know. Quite the half or more full guy. But how does this market make a BOLD move to reshape the growth plan for the next 50 years? Where is the next A-B? How do we do a free-agent Matt Holliday-type deal to attract a FedEx, a Macy's, a heavy hitting corporation relocation? How do we pull in same direction? How do we make the regional business climate VERY attractive for companies to want to locate here, invest in our community?

How can we be more like the BASEBALL Cardinals and less like the old football Cardinals who, yes, also left?

That's the question for which I'd love an answer. I have some thoughts on the possible solutions. But would love to hear from you and the other development pros.

Bill Burnes