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Reading: The Space Between Us: Social Geography and Politics, by Ryan D. Enos

December 11, 2017 Featured, Reading Comments Off on Reading: The Space Between Us: Social Geography and Politics, by Ryan D. Enos

A recent book explores the the interrelationship between several fields, including geography & politics. The underlying research is fascinating.

The Space between Us brings the connection between geography, psychology, and politics to life. By going into the neighborhoods of real cities, Enos shows how our perceptions of racial, ethnic, and religious groups are intuitively shaped by where these groups live and interact daily. Through the lens of numerous examples across the globe and drawing on a compelling combination of research techniques including field and laboratory experiments, big data analysis, and small-scale interactions, this timely book provides a new understanding of how geography shapes politics and how members of groups think about each other. Enos’ analysis is punctuated with personal accounts from the field. His rigorous research unfolds in accessible writing that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike, illuminating the profound effects of social geography on how we relate to, think about, and politically interact across groups in the fabric of our daily lives. (Cambridge University Press)

You can read the Preface and Chapter 1 here.

  1. The Red Line
  2. The Demagogue of Space
  3. The Demagogue’s Mechanism: Groups, Space, and the Mind
  4. Laboratories: Assigning Space
  5. Boston: Trains, Immigrants, and the Arizona Question
  6. Chicago: Projects and a Shock to Social Geography
  7. Jerusalem: Walls and the Problem of Cooperation
  8. Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles: Contact and Exit
  9. Phoenix: The Arc of Intergroup Interactions and the Political Future

This is an academic book, though the subject matter is accessible to all. Time is spent explaining the research methodology used in the research, easily skipped unless you’re curious.

Author Ryan D. Enos worked as a teacher on the South side of Chicago, so Chicago’s North-South divide, like St. Louis’ Delmar Divide, makes a great subject for study.  Enos is now an Associate Professor at Harvard University. The banner at the to of his website proclaims:

I am a Social Scientist studying political psychology, race and ethnic politics, and political behavior in the United States and other countries. 

The Space Between Us is available locally from Left Bank Books, Amazon, and other booksellers.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Condos vs Apartments…Does It Matter?

December 10, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Condos vs Apartments…Does It Matter?
Please vote below

On Friday we learned about a proposed 33-story apartment tower across Broadway from Busch Stadium/Ballpark Village. A 29-story apartment tower is already planned within Ballpark Village.

Other recent new downtown residential projects include the 25-story Tower at OPOP at 411 North Eighth Street, which has one- and two-bedroom apartments that range between $1,295 and $2,700 per month. Two years ago, the rehab of the historic Arcade building added 282 apartments to the downtown market — the biggest single addition to downtown in decades.

In recent years, downtown has been one of the few city neighborhoods where population has been growing, as historic buildings were rehabbed into lofts and apartments amid sluggish demand for office space. Downtown’s population has more than doubled since 2000 to almost 9,000 as of last year. (Post-Dispatch)

A decade ago all the projects being built were condos, not apartments. Does it matter?

Here’s today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson


St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 26 of 2017-2018 Session

December 8, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 26 of 2017-2018 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 26th week of the 2017-2018 session. FOUR (13) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 12/8/17:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#207 – Navarro ? An ordinance approving the dissolution of the East Loop/Parkview Gardens Special Business District and the discharge of the members of its board of commissioners, by repealing Ordinance No. 63634.
  • B.B.#208 – Davis ? An ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission, the Comptroller and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making certain findings with respect to the transfer of up to Thirteen Million Seven Hundred Twenty?Seven Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty?Nine Dollars of excess moneys that The City, intends to transfer from the Debt Service Stabilization Fund to the Airport Revenue Fund in accordance with Section 516.B of the Lambert?St. Louis International Airport Indenture of Trust between the City, as Grantor, and UMB Bank, N.A., as Trustee, dated as of October 15, 1984, as amended and restated as of July 1, 2009, as amended and supplemented; authorizing a transfer in an amount not to exceed Thirteen Million Seven Hundred Twenty?Seven Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty?Nine Dollars from the DSSF into the Revenue Fund during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, to be used to make funds available to mitigate rates on an annual basis during the term of the Airport Use and Lease Agreement commencing July 1, 2016; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#209 – Davis ? An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller to enter into and the Second Amendment to Fuel System Lease and Use Agreement AL?442 to the St. Louis Lambert International Airport® Fuel System Lease and Use Agreement AL?442, between the City and STL Fuel Company LLC, dated December 22, 2011, as amended by the First Amendment to Fuel System Lease and Use Agreement AL?442, dated April 7, 2014; the Second Amendment, which is attached hereto as ATTACHMENT “1” and made a part hereof, was approved by the City’s Airport Commission, and its terms are more fully described in Section One of this Ordinance; containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#210 – Davis ? An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports of the City, owner and operator of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport to execute, the Consent to Assignment whereby the City consents to the assignment by ABM Parking Services, Inc. (“Assignor”) to ABM Aviation, Inc. (“Assignee”) all right, title and interest in the Operating Agreement for Management & Operation of Parking Facilities Services AL?267 at Lambert?St. Louis International Airport, dated December 10, 2014; and further authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller to enter into and execute the First Amendment to the Operating Agreement for Management & Operation of Parking Facilities Services AL?267 (“First Amendment”) to the Agreement; said Consent to Assignment and First Amendment were approved by the Airport Commission and are attached hereto as ATTACHMENT “1” and ATTACHMENT “2” respectively, and made a part hereof, and their terms are more fully described in Section One and Section Two of this Ordinance; containing a severability clause; and an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson


Opinion: Shake Shack Kinda A Big Deal For St. Louis (UPDATED)

December 6, 2017 Central West End, Featured Comments Off on Opinion: Shake Shack Kinda A Big Deal For St. Louis (UPDATED)

The origins of Shake Shack were hummbl;e…a cart. From their website:

Shake Shack sprouted from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The cart was quite the success, with Shack fans lined up daily for three summers.

In 2004, a permanent kiosk opened in the park: Shake Shack was born. This modern day “roadside” burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more. An instant neighborhood fixture, Shake Shack welcomed people from all over the city, country and world who gathered together to enjoy fresh, simple, high-quality versions of the classics in a majestic setting. The rest, as they say, is burger history.

Founder Danny Meyer is originally from the St. Louis region. Meyer founded Shake Shack in 2004, but he was well-established in NYC by that point.

The fancy-casual flagship of Danny Meyer’s empire, opened in 1985—which led the way for a hit parade of restaurants including Gramercy Tavern, the Modern, Blue Smoke, North End Grill, Untitled, Shake Shack, and, for a time, Eleven Madison Park—closed at the end of 2015, because of an untenable rent hike, with a promise to reopen within a year. Meyer is nothing if not trustworthy. In December [2016], the U.S.C. revamp débuted in the old City Crab space, still close enough to the greenmarket to stock up on winter rutabagas and retain its farm-to-table ethos, an idea it pioneered. (The New Yorker)

Meyer has built a huge culinary empire, survived in the highly-competative casual dining marketplace. From 2015:, Compared to its peers, Shake Shack has a much higher P/E ratio than the average of 32, but because Shake Shack is growing rapidly through expansion and is still a new company, the company’s earnings may yet rise in the future to bring the P/E in line with the industry. The relatively low profit margins and return on equity might also be attributed to its rapid expansion. On the other hand, it might point to the company trying to grow too much too quickly for its own good. (Investopedia)

St. Louis now joins cities that have a Shake Shack. There’s the usual suspects like NYC, Chicago, LA, and Dallas. Ahead of us were cities like Lexington (KY), Detroit, and San Antonio. Some bigger regions don’t have a Shake Shack yet: Seattle, Portland, and Denver.

I’ve never been to a Shake Shack before, though we’ve passed by one a block West of Chicago’s Michigan Ave numerous times.

Shake Shack just West of Michigan Ave, Chicago

I recently told my husband we could go next year…he wants to try it this year…so we’ll brave the lines in the next few weeks. St. Louis’ Shake Shack is located at 32 N Euclid, in The Euclid building.

From the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll;

Q: Agree or disagree: Shake Shack opening in St. Louis is no big deal, we have plenty of burger & shake joints already.

  • Strongly agree 6 [16.22%]
  • Agree 7 [18.92%]
  • Somewhat agree 8 [21.62%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 4 [10.81%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [10.81%]
  • Disagree 6 [16.22%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [2.7%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 -2.7%]

We’ll see if it lives up to the hype. I’m looking forward to trying their ‘Shroom Burger (“Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce™”)

— Steve Patterson

Note: This post was updated at 7:45am on 12/6/2017 to correct location information.


Reading: The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy

December 4, 2017 Featured, Reading Comments Off on Reading: The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy

If you think everyone has an equal chance in our society…you’re probably white. Though I’m a white male, I realized years ago the system has long been rigged to favor those who had money & privilege. A recent book looks at the formal & informal rules put into place to maintain an unequal society.

Why do black families own less than white families? Why does school segregation persist decades after Brown v. Board of Education? Why is it harder for black adults to vote than for white adults? Will addressing economic inequality solve racial and gender inequality as well? This book answers all of these questions and more by revealing the hidden rules of race that create barriers to inclusion today. While many Americans are familiar with the histories of slavery and Jim Crow, we often don’t understand how the rules of those eras undergird today’s economy, reproducing the same racial inequities 150 years after the end of slavery and 50 years after the banning of Jim Crow segregation laws. This book shows how the fight for racial equity has been one of progress and retrenchment, a constant push and pull for inclusion over exclusion. By understanding how our economic and racial rules work together, we can write better rules to finally address inequality in America. (Cambridge University Press)

Here’s a look at the chapters in the book:

  1. American Politics and Economic Outcomes for African Americans
  2. Stratification Economics
  3. Creating Structural Changes
  4. The Racial Rules of Wealth
  5. The Racial Rules of Income
  6. The Racial Rules of Education
  7. The Racial Rules of Criminal Justice
  8. The Racial Rules of Health
  9. The Racial Rules of Democratic Participation
  10. What Will It Take to Rewrite the Hidden Rules of Race?

I like that the authors suggest ways to change the rules to level the field, showing us how to get to an inclusive economy. Amazon has a preview of the first pages, it can also be ordered through Left Bank Books.

— Steve Patterson




Received 2 new books from Island Press:
1) Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity
2) Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places
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