The Urban Theory Thread

A catch-all forum for urban discussion. If it doesn't fit elsewhere, post here.
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Here's another one for those who enjoy over-analyzing the psychology of modernist architecture:

Form Follows Libido
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/form-follows-libido
Building the Smart City Workshop.

"On December 4th, St. Louis’ citizens, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders will meet to road-map iNeighborhoods’ development of the Delmar Loop, Forest Park, and possibly other St. Louis region locations. This is about the use of technology to foster connectedness and inclusivity and expand the opportunities for ALL citizens."...

At the Visitor Center in Forest Park. More info and sign-up here:
https://buildingsmartcityworkshoploop.splashthat.com/
Citizen Jane just got put on Hulu. Good watch about Jane Jacob's and the urban renewal movement. Some mentions of STL as well
Not entirely sure where to put this, but I saw this video today on the increasing number of cities that are using railroad station redevelopments as catalysts for larger urban renewal. The video focused mainly on Denver's redevelopment of Union Station, but I figure it's just as relevant in St. Louis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-YGVytC-7s
NPR - First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: 'We're In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis'

https://www.npr.org/2018/04/12/60178334 ... ing-crisis
^Makes an awful lot of good sense.
The New Magnetism of Mid-Sized Cities:

https://www.curbed.com/2018/5/1/1730697 ... econd-city
NYMag - Downtown Nashville Is Supposed to Be the Model of the Walkable 21st-Century City. I'm Not So Sure.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... quite.html
^ That's a really great article that covers a lot of ground on walkability/urbanism/density/equity issues. (Although the genre of "here's what I experienced walking one time in such and such place" by an outsider has some issues.)

While the article was downtown-centric, and I think ours suffers similar challenges as their's, I think it really highlights why legacy cities like Saint Louis can thrive with multiple walkable commercial districts while its so difficult to create in these up and comers like Nashville. Think of Cherokee Street for example; no matter how much it grows Nashville is unlikely to ever have that kind of authentic, walkable neighborhood-scaled environment that exists over a mile long.
Strong Towns Podcast - Why is it so hard to get things built?

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... ings-built
Millennials, the conventional wisdom goes, are the back-to-the city generation. But recently, some observers have argued that Millennials are suburbanizing like their parents did—either by choice or out of necessity.

However, according to a new study, Millennials are happiest in cities.
https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/06/mi ... es/563999/
Strong Towns - We Should Be Building Cities for People, Not Cars
Fun fact: SimCity was forced to pretend that all parking lots were underground, because the game would be “really boring if it was proportional in terms of parking lots". SimCity’s lead designer explained, “I was blown away by how much more space was parking lot rather than actual store. That was kind of a problem, because we were originally just going to model real cities … We had to do the best we could do and still make the game look attractive."
https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... e-not-cars
Why the ‘Greening’ of Vacant Land Is a Smart Long-Term Investment in Cities
https://nextcity.org/features/view/why- ... -in-cities
We need to be careful about how much low-productivity land uses like those we put next to high liability city-level infrastructure.
Rethinking “The Great Migration”
At CityLab, Brentin Mock makes a compelling case for rethinking the causes and consequences of black Americans’ 20th century relocation from the rural South to the industrialized north.

“The Great Migration” makes it sound like a bunch of people just packed up their bags headed for better jobs and homes—no different than the recent trend of Amazon-ian and Apple-American tech nerds moving in droves from Silicon Valley to greener, more affordable pastures in the former Rust Belt. In reality, the stakes for African Americans in the 20th century were much grimmer and urgent—they were moving to save their lives, as Bryan Stevenson, the racial justice advocate behind the lynching memorial and museum, regularly emphasizes. It probably should be called The Great Massive Forced Exodus.
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/07/ ... on/564419/
In anticipation of a citywide economic development plan the HUDZ committee worked with Charles Gascon of the St. Louis Fed to compile some benchmarks to compare our progress. Charles comes up with insightful analysis for drivers of growth and regional well being. Here's his June 27 presentation: http://aldermanroddy.com/wp-content/upl ... 6_27-1.pdf
The Economist - Urban myths: In praise of gentrification

https://www.economist.com/united-states ... rification
^Ha! Try telling that to my knee-jerk "progressive" Facebook friends. They seem to be opposed to anything new being built anywhere, on the grounds that it's gonna negatively impact the life of whatever victim-group is currently trending.
:roll:
he cites some studies from the 1990's and then relays a more recent anecdote about a black homeowner in Chicago, shortly after berating "those who bemoan...gentrification" for arguing on anecdotes. and then he acknowledges and conveniently dismisses rent-burdened households as the result of "thoughtless regulation", as though that's not a component of gentrification. and all of his examples come from New York City and Washington. what he's unknowingly arguing (in an undeservedly-assured, dick-like tone) is that if your city has policy in place (rent control, housing assistance) to offset the displacement of rent-burdened households in gentrifying neighborhoods, then things aren't quite as much of a sh*t-show.
urban_dilettante wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:10 pm
:roll:
he cites some studies from the 1990's and then relays a more recent anecdote about a black homeowner in Chicago, shortly after berating "those who bemoan...gentrification" for arguing on anecdotes. and then he acknowledges and conveniently dismisses rent-burdened households as the result of "thoughtless regulation", as though that's not a component of gentrification. and all of his examples come from New York City and Washington. what he's unknowingly arguing (in an undeservedly-assured, dick-like tone) is that if your city has policy in place (rent control, housing assistance) to offset the displacement of rent-burdened households in gentrifying neighborhoods, then things aren't quite as much of a sh*t-show.
I'm going to be honest - I have no idea how gentrification is at all relevant in St. Louis. Maybe I'm wrong. I would love to have someone explain/educate me about gentrification as a local issue.
^ gentrification is a complex issue and does have different meanings to different people. but what do you call it when (once) majority-black neighborhoods like Forest Park SE, Botanical Heights and Shaw lose black population at dramatic rates while the white population increases?
On a neighborhood by neighborhood basis gentrification can be easily seen in some of our more popular neighborhoods but in a population stagnant city like St. Louis I don't see the problem on a neighborhood level. Gentrification is in many ways STL's only chance to justify the densification and new construction it desperately needs. While housing values in the Grove are exploding right now with tons of new construction, the neighborhood will inevitably cool down and 20 years down the road prices will stabilize AND there will be more housing available.

What I find more concerning than localized gentrification is the disparity between white and black populations in the city. Most of STL's population losses come from blacks leaving the city while the white population has actually increased. I feel like so much of what STL has been working on these past few decades is to convince white people that the city is cool and safe place to live. We need to make the city place where blacks and whites WANT to live. Just look at the disparity between the average white neighborhood and the average black neighborhood. The difference is clear.
More even than a black/white issue (though that's certainly a part of what gives it a bad rap) it's a class issue. Thus the name. As a new "gentry" moves in and displaces the original "peasants," whomsoever they were. In general, I'd say it's something we associate with techier, trendier, better off out of town types moving into previously working class neighborhoods thus changing the character of the city. And yes, the population bleeding has been a real problem. And yes, attracting trendy kids might help to stem some of that. And no, change isn't prima facie bad. But all of us get nostalgic about something, and gentrification can trip that. Which is probably why so much of it is anecdotal. We remember in anecdotes. And I think a lot of this is about memory and a feeling of the loss of local cultural identity to a new coastal elite styled homogeneity. Gentrifiers, after all, needn't be white. Nor people displaced by gentrification black. This might be the case we talk about most often, but I think that's hardly exclusive. Gentrifiers could just as easily be Asian and displaced folks white. I . . . uh . . . might know a guy.

None of which changes the fact that non-white people experience some nasty systematic troubles in our land of opportunity, nor that starting white really is something of an advantage. Even if the Asian girl succeeds and the white guy gets nowhere.

There's doubtless also an element of "kids these days" and "remember when" to it. "Remember the old mall? And how you used to race your hemi-cuda in the lot at night? Yeah, that's a planned 'new urbanist' community now with four taco shacks, a thirty dollar ramen bar, and electric charging stations everywhere. Dang gentrifying millennial hipsters with their beard oil kill everything nice." Something like that.

It can doubtless be a problem. Or it can be the straw man taking the ire and distracting us from the real problem. And a New York guy talking about rent control does sound rather tone deaf.
More food for thought

Detroit Free Press - Gentrification misses real problem in Detroit, urban expert warns

https://amp.freep.com/amp/762627002
^Well said.