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Why Great Streets?

August 7, 2010 Guest 1 Comment

The life of any great city occurs on the street. Streets are the most public of domains, where we engage in an assortment of activities. Jane Jacobs, in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, said, Cities need “a most intricate and close-grained diversity of uses that give each other mutual support, both economically and socially.” On great commercial and mixed-use blocks, this happens. These streets, when woven through neighborhoods and districts, provide an armature for social interaction and economic growth. They also represent the character, history and culture of the community, making them, quite possibly, iconic.

Great streets are the bonds of great communities. They house civic institutions where we meet to discuss current affairs and make plans for our future and the future of our children. Great streets contain businesses where we obtain goods and services we need and want. Often these are the businesses of our friends and neighbors. Broadly speaking, the stores, shops and offices here are the base of the local economy or, in some instances, were until big-box stores killed their existence. Despite trying times, great streets always seem to rebound.

For those not fortunate enough to live on or near these streets, we still tend to like visiting them. Whether to rehash memories of “the old neighborhood” or to help imagine what our lives had been with a great main street in walking distance from our homes, they have great appeal. We also have an affinity for these places, because they are where we have by-chance interaction with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and future friends or spouses. Regardless, it seems there is something remarkable about great streets and that is why the City of St. Louis is making efforts to strengthen them and make them more prevalent.

In order to study and develop great streets in St. Louis, we have to learn from already existing great streets. The best way to determine where they are and why they are great is to hear from those who use and visit them. For this reason Great Streets of STL asks you to come voice your thoughts at: GreatStreetsofSTL.com.

– Bryan Zundel


Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Zundo says:

    Hopefully St. Louis starts developing more great streets. It would be tremendous if people could live in more neighborhoods/districts that were within walking distance from a main street/ interesting commercial corridor.


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