Home » Featured » Recent Articles:

Four Recent Books From Island Press

January 25, 2023 Books, Featured Comments Off on Four Recent Books From Island Press

Trying to get caught up on posts, so rather than four individual posts these four books from 2022 are grouped together. — Steve

‘City Forward: How Innovation Districts Can Embrace Risk and Strengthen Community’ by Matt Enstice with Mike Gluck

To me it seems like nearly every new development project is part of a growing list of innovation districts. This book delves into the topic.

Innovation districts and anchor institutions—like hospitals, universities, and technology hubs—are celebrated for their ability to drive economic growth and employment opportunities. But the benefits often fail to reach the very neighborhoods they are built in. As CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Matt Enstice took a different approach. Under Matt’s leadership, BNMC has supported entrepreneurship training programs and mentorship for community members, creation of a community garden, bringing together diverse groups to explore transportation solutions, and more. Fostering participation and collaboration among neighborhood leaders, foundations, and other organizations ensures that the interests of Buffalo residents are represented. Together, these groups are creating a new model for re-energizing Buffalo—a model that has applications across the United States and around the world.

City Forward explains how BNMC works to promote a shared goal of equity among companies and institutions with often opposing motivations and intentions. When money or time is scarce, how can equitable community building remain a common priority? When interests conflict, and an institution’s expansion depends upon parking or development that would infringe upon public space, how can the decision-making process maintain trust and collaboration? Offering a candid look at BNMC’s setbacks and successes, along with efforts from other institutions nationwide, Enstice shares twelve strategies that innovation districts can harness to weave equity into their core work. From actively creating opportunities to listen to the community, to navigating compromise, to recruiting new partners, the book reveals unique opportunities available to create decisive, large-scale change. Critically, Enstice also offers insight about how innovation districts can speak about equity in an inclusive manner and keep underrepresented and historically excluded voices at the decision-making table.

Accessible, engaging, and packed with fresh ideas applicable to any city, this book is an invaluable resource. Institutional leadership, business owners, and professionals hoping to make equitable change within their companies and organizations will find experienced direction here. City Forward is a refreshing look at the brighter, more equitable futures that we can create through thoughtful and strategic collaboration—moving forward, together

(Island Press)

‘Making Healthy Places, Second Edition: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability’ edited by Nisha D. Botchwey, Andrew Dannenberg, and Howard Frumkin

Priorities of well-being, equity, and sustainability are exactly what we need at this time. This book is larger than the other three, see the link below for contents & preview.

The first edition of Making Healthy Places offered a visionary and thoroughly researched treatment of the connections between constructed environments and human health. Since its publication over 10 years ago, the field of healthy community design has evolved significantly to address major societal problems, including health disparities, obesity, and climate change. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended how we live, work, learn, play, and travel.
 
In Making Healthy Places, Second Edition: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability, planning and public health experts Nisha D. Botchwey, Andrew L. Dannenberg, and Howard Frumkin bring together scholars and practitioners from across the globe in fields ranging from public health, planning, and urban design, to sustainability, social work, and public policy. This updated and expanded edition explains how to design and build places that are beneficial to the physical, mental, and emotional health of humans, while also considering the health of the planet.
 
This edition expands the treatment of some topics that received less attention a decade ago, such as the relationship of the built environment to equity and health disparities, climate change, resilience, new technology developments, and the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Drawing on the latest research, Making Healthy Places, Second Edition imparts a wealth of practical information on the role of the built environment in advancing major societal goals, such as health and well-being, equity, sustainability, and resilience. 
 
This update of a classic is a must-read for students and practicing professionals in public health, planning, architecture, civil engineering, transportation, and related fields.

(Island Press)

‘Managing the Climate Crisis: Designing and Building for Floods, Heat, Drought, and Wildfire’ by Jonathan Barnett and Matthijs Bouw

We definitely need to build differently in preparation for our changing climate.

The climate, which had been relatively stable for centuries, is well into a new and dangerous phase. In 2020 there were 22 weather and climate disasters in the United States, which resulted in 262 deaths.  Each disaster cost more than a billion dollars to repair. This dangerous trend is continuing with unprecedented heat waves, extended drought, extraordinary wildfire seasons, torrential downpours, and increased coastal and river flooding. Reducing the causes of the changing climate is the urgent global priority, but the country will be living with worsening climate disasters at least until midcentury because of greenhouse emissions already in the atmosphere. How to deal with the changing climate is an urgent national security problem affecting almost everyone.  

In Managing the Climate Crisis, design and planning experts Jonathan Barnett and Matthijs Bouw take a practical approach to addressing the inevitable and growing threats from the climate crisis using constructed and nature-based design and engineering and ordinary government programs. They discuss adaptation and preventive measures and illustrate their implementation for seven climate-related threats: flooding along coastlines, river flooding, flash floods from extreme rain events, drought, wildfire, long periods of high heat, and food shortages.

The policies and investments needed to protect lives and property are affordable if they begin now, and are planned and budgeted over the next 30 years. Preventive actions can also be a tremendous opportunity, not only to create jobs, but also to remake cities and landscapes to be better for everyone. Flood defenses can be incorporated into new waterfront parks. The green designs needed to control flash floods can also help shield communities from excessive heat. Combating wildfires can produce healthier forests and generate creative designs for low-ignition landscapes and more fire-resistant buildings. Capturing rainwater can make cities respond to severe weather more naturally, while conserving farmland from erosion and encouraging roof-top greenhouses can safeguard food supplies.

Managing the Climate Crisis is a practical guide to managing the immediate threats from a changing climate while improving the way we live.

(Island Press)

‘Place and Prosperity: How Cities Help Us to Connect and Innovate’ by William Fulton

Actual ”places” aren’t just a GPS location. A collection of big boxes, strip malls, fast food buildings doesn’t create a place.

There are few more powerful questions than, “Where are you from” or “Where do you live?” People feel intensely connected to cities as places and to other people who feel that same connection. In order to understand place – and understand human settlements generally – it is important to understand that places are not created by accident. They are created in order to further a political or economic agenda. Better cities emerge when the people who shape them think more broadly and consciously about the places they are creating. In Place and Prosperity: How Cities Help Us to Connect and Innovate, urban planning expert William Fulton takes an engaging look at the process by which these decisions about places are made, how cities are engines of prosperity, and how place and prosperity are deeply intertwined. Fulton has been writing about cities over his forty-year career that includes working as a journalist, professor, mayor, planning director, and the director of an urban think tank in one of America’s great cities. Place and Prosperity is a curated collection of his writings with new and updated selections and framing material.

Though the essays in Place and Prosperity are in some ways personal, drawing on Fulton’s experience in learning and writing about cities, their primary purpose is to show how these two ideas – place and prosperity – lie at the heart of what a city is and, by extension, what our society is all about. Fulton shows how, over time, a successful place creates enduring economic assets that don’t go away and lay the groundwork for prosperity in the future. But for urbanism to succeed, all of us have to participate in making cities great places for everybody. Because cities, imposing though they may be as physical environments, don’t work without us.

Cities are resilient. They’ve been buffeted over the decades by White flight, decay, urban renewal, unequal investment, increasingly extreme weather events, and now the worst pandemic in a century, and they’re still going strong. Fulton shows that at their best, cities not only inspire and uplift us, but they make our daily life more convenient, more fulfilling – and more prosperous.

(Island Press)

 

From Dated to State of the Art: 100 North Broadway

January 18, 2023 Downtown, Economy, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on From Dated to State of the Art: 100 North Broadway

Buildings are expensive to construct, so frequently renovation makes more sense than razing & replacing. If the structure is sound changing the finishes, fenestration (windows & doors), technology, etc is cost-effective and green. The office tower at 100 North Broadway is a good example. Most was good, very little was bad — but the bad was so prominent it overshadowed the positives. I posted about this building in 2015, suggesting the 2-story section get reimagined. The building’s owner thanked me for my interest.

The owner hired longtime tenant Trivers Architects to sketch up some ideas. Not for them, but to help sell the building. In February 2020 a new local owner took possession of the building. Then the pandemic hit, office employees worked from home. Ouch! What was initially going to be a simple interior update turned into a major project — kudos to the owner & investors for seeing the big picture, playing the long game.

building
The renovated pavilion & plaza of 100 N. Broadway in November 2022
The original greenhouse design was well past its prime.

Granted, the former branch bank inside was even more horrendous.

Looking toward the building lobby, July 2015
Inside looking East along the South atrium/greenhouse wall we can see those inward points

The timing at the beginning was actually a good thing. The owner & architects from Trivers were able to rethink amenities for attracting tenants. The former bank offices on the 2nd floor became a common areas and high-tech conference rooms. Let’s take a look.

First up, a monumental staircase. The bank tenant didn’t want everyone going to their offices instead of tellers, but now an inviting stair makes sense. Elevators on the east & west sides were also replaced.
A huge preserved moss wall brings color to the new lobby, adds natural warmth.
Again, this isn’t a high-maintenance living wall — it’s the largest preserved moss wall in the region. Note the seating below.
A view of the lobby from the 2nd floor.
Yes, under the stair is a small meeting space enclosed by orange glass.
The other side is space for eating. behind me is a cafe space, with room for a commercial kitchen including exterior exhaust.
At the top of the monumental stair is a kitchen space, for tenant events.
Just off that kitchen is an outdoor space. A group from one tenant was gathered when I was there.
The outdoor space has great views.
Back on the main floor, the security/reception ares is between the lobby and elevators.
This is significantly larger than before, the elevators are more visible.
These efforts helped attract McCormack-Baron when their lease was up in the old Laclede Gas building. Their new space is on several floors. Trivers also designed their offices.
Outside the 2-story part was clad in horizontally ribbed terra cotta, a nice contrast to the metal of the tower. Both the east & west plazas were totally redone so the roof of the underground parking garage could be resealed. The east entrance now has this ramp rather than just steps.

The only criticism I have is one that’s easily corrected. The only bicycle parking is for tenants, in the garage — none for a guest. bike rack on each side would solve this.

As a person who saw the before and envisioned how it could be I’m so glad the new owner, investors, architects, consultants, and contractors made something happen. As a former designer I loved seeing tired buildings rethought around current requirements, materials, technology, esthetics. For additional building information see Loopnet, for project info see Trivers Architects.

— Steve
————————————————————————
St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.

 

19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 2: Kingshighway to City Limits

January 16, 2023 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive, North City Comments Off on 19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 2: Kingshighway to City Limits

This post continues looking at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Louis, west of Kingshighsway. For east of Kingshighway see Part 1.

The MLK corridor is underserved by financial institutions, so it’s nice to see a bank on the NW corner of MLK & Belt Ave., within the huge Friendly Temple Church complex.
Unfortunately like so much this too is auto-centric, set back behind auto storage. There are no provisions for a pedestrian ADA accessible route — pedestrians must use automobile driveways to reach the accessible building entrance. Pedestrians are likely prohibited from using the drive thru lane on the east side. An accessible parking space is provided, but it doesn’t have the required high sign at the front of the space.
A favorite building of mine, located on the SW corner of MLK & Blackstone Ave, continues to fall apart. The load-bearing side wall is starting to crumble.
Just to the west, on the SW corner of MLK & Goodfellow Ave, is another great building slowly decaying.
Looking west on MLK at Goodfellow Ave. we see the previous building on the left, a handsome but newer old building on the NW corner,
Both street sides of this building have campaign billboards for Jeffrey Boyd — he and two others resigned in 2022 in a pay-to-play scandal. All 3 were found guilty, headed to prison.
A little further west, up a slight grade, is another building I like that’s crumbling.
Another view
At 5879 MLK is the 22nd Ward Headquarters, the one-time office of Jeffrey Boyd.
At 5930 MLK is a former J. C. Penny department store. Gorgeous International Modern design. Would love to see this renovated and occupied.
IDEA: a hydroponic with a storefront market.
West of Euclid the iconic Wellston Loop streetcar building…continues to deteriorate. A couple of years ago it was covered and protected, but those efforts appear to have stopped. In the 90s the vacant lot you see held a nice 5+ story building.
As seen from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at the city limits.

From east to west MLK Dr passes through the following wards: 14, 11, and 12. It’s a boundary for the 10th ward.

North St. Louis is the least populated part of the city, so each ward is physically larger than other wards. The bad news is this means lots of problems, poverty, etc. On the plus side the solutions that should be implemented are largely big picture, not micro neighborhood by neighborhood. The latter is how we end up with nice urban infill around a renovated historic building…across the street from a gas station/convenience store (see Arlington Grove vs Mobile in Street View.

The urban Arlington Grove Apts as seen from the auto-centric gas station across the street, 2013

Hopefully new aldermen will be more open to urbanist planning rather than continuing the failed suburbanization of the city. I’m not optimistic.

— Steve
————————————————————————
St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.

 

19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 1: Tucker to Kingshighway

January 16, 2023 Featured Comments Off on 19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 1: Tucker to Kingshighway

Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Aril 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. In response cities began renaming streets in Black/Africian-American areas in his honor. St. Louis was a little slow at making this happen, it wasn’t until 1972 that Franklin & Easton Avenues became Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from 3rd Street to the western city limits at the Wellston Loop commercial district. The Veterans Bridge over the river was also renamed in his honor. Only 5 years later a block of MLK Dr. was closed (8th to 9th) for the Cervantes Convention Center. Over the years the remaining blocks east of Tucker (12th) have been closed, privatized, or cut off from the larger grid.

I started this blog on October 31, 2004, for MLK Day 2005 I did an extensive look at the condition of the approximately 7 mile corridor. Every year since I’ve continued, this is my 19th such MLKK Day post. Images for the easiest posts have become disconnected, but hopefully they’ll be reestablished in the future. The 2018 MLK post is a good prior example. Okay, let’s begin just east of Tucker and head west.

Interco Plaza, SE corner of Tucker & MLK, has been “closed for renovations” for a couple of years, basically since Square moved into the former Post-Dispatch building to the north and they didn’t want any homeless around.
I do like that MLK has been narrowed, though not very elegantly. Not sure how a person with visual impairment is supposed to understand this.
A lot of the blocks immediately west of Tucker have been surface daily car storage, but some now have chargers for electric vehicles.
The medical building on the NW corner of 14th & MLK was originally built by BJC, but they didn’t stay long. It has had various tenants, but is vacant once again. Unfortunately it is built as if it was in an auto-dependent suburb — set back behind car storage.
Walls going up on the SW corner of MLK & 17th, this is owned Cybertel or Verizon.
Between 21st and 22nd you see empty land, once planned for a western highway loop around downtown. The green arrow points to CITYPARK, the new soccer stadium. Hopefully this vacant land along MLK will also get redeveloped eventually.
At Jefferson we can see work has begun to reduce the excessive width of the curb to curb distance, reducing the number of lanes — AKA road diet. For former RV park turn tiny home village on the NE corner can be seen in the background.
The two buildings at 30xx MLK have been deteriorating every year, but the front facades look about the same.
The flounder on the east one has completely collapsed, the rubble remains.
At the point where Page Blvd splits off to the left is a couple of deteriorating warehouses.
In this close crop of the previous image you can see how part of the freight elevator penthouse has collapsed.
The Page Blvd facade is the front, clearly falling apart. Neighborhood residents recently sued developer Paul “Northside Regeneration” McKee to take control of the building.
Both buildings viewed from the west.
A nonprofit previoulsly purchased this property west of Vandeventer Ave, but it doesn’t look like they’ve done anything in the last year.
Just west of Belle Glades Ave is a favorite, the scaffolding suggests this well-maintained building continues to receive TLC. Unfortunately, the building to the west was lost a few years ago. Great infill opportunity!
The same seen from across MLK.
The north side of MLK still contains urban storefronts, while the south side contains an auto-centric strip mall. This was built within the last 20 years by a nonprofit associated with, but not controlled by, St. Louis University. The intention was business incubator space.
Like any good suburban strip mall, the VILLE MALL has a huge monument sign on the SE corner of MLK & Whittier St. Rather than have storefronts on the corner we see fencing & grass. Alderman Sam Moore, a tenant died in February 2020. Moore loved having parking out front.
Moore’s successor Dwinderlin “Dwin” Evans took over the space facing Whittier. Evans is not a candidate in the primary next month.
In the long block west of Whittier St, on the street a blue tarp has blown off a roof, at 4246? Wouldn’t be surprised if this building begins deteriorating faster, unless someone recovers or replaces the roofing.
I was pleased to see new construction in a city block that backs to MLK.
Unfortunately it is set back behind car storage. Pendleton & Evans Avenues
Returning to MLK at Newstead I see the vacant Marshall School. I remember when it was occupied, attended some community meetings here.
This crop of the above image shows open window and holes in the roof. This school building faces Aldine Ave, is for sale by the St. Louis Public Schools.
The vacant land on the NW cornet of MLK & Cora Ave has fresh gravel and new lighting. Looks like upgraded car storage.
The larger site across MLK also has fresh gravel. Unlike the other, this wasn’t previously paved.
The buildings at 47xx continue to deteriorate. These are on the south side of MLK just before Walton Ave.
Back on the north side of MLK the east side wall of 4859 continues to collapse. Side walls are structural in most St. Louis buildings like these.
For several years now a new commercial building has been under construction on the north side of MLK, just before Kingshighway. In the lsat year it has been expanded with a corner entrance — all set back behind car storage.
This new Hollywood Beauty wasn’t yet open on 1/7/23.
The location on the SE corner of MLK and Kingshighway, in a former Blockbuster Video, was busy. Will be intersection to see if anything is occupying this space a year from now.

Continue to Part 2 for a look at MLK Dr from Kingshighsway to the city limits.

— Steve
————————————————————————
St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.

 

Recent Book — “Tower Grove Park: Common Ground & Grateful Shade” by Amanda E Doyle

January 9, 2023 Books, Featured, Parks Comments Off on Recent Book — “Tower Grove Park: Common Ground & Grateful Shade” by Amanda E Doyle

St. Louis has some wonderful parks, built at different times for different reasons. One of the more unique is Tower Grove Park. It wasn’t constructed by the city like so many of our parks — it was gifted to the city. It has always had a board to oversee the park — it’s not just one of many under the Park Dept. A recent hardcover book takes a deep dive into the park.

book cover
Cover of recent hardcover coffee table book by Amanda Doyle.

Following the success of his Missouri Botanical Garden, English transplant and enthusiastic philanthropist Henry Shaw turned his attention in the late 1860s to creating the first large park in St. Louis, a Victorian showplace full of verdant trees, shading pavilions, and music and cultural amenities. Above all, Tower Grove Park was “not created for the benefit of any particular class, but for the enjoyment of all classes—for the use of the city population in the aggregate.” Such a tranquil oasis served to uplift, refine, and refresh human beings whose lives were becoming increasingly mechanized, crowded, and complicated . . . and 150 years after its founding, Tower Grove Park continues to fill that role in the lives of St. Louisans and the rest of the region.

Step into the past with this richly illustrated history of the park, including descriptions of the people and pavilions that created its unique architectural identity; appreciations of its lush tree canopy and vast biodiversity in the heart of an urban setting; and stories of the many individuals, groups, organizations, and events that have brought recreation and renewal within its acres. And follow along to the thoroughly modern uses and future plans that keep this park for all seasons more relevant now than ever, a necessity for the health, hope, and well-being of St. Louis.

Reedy Press

Author Amanda Doyle, a friend for over two decades, has lived near the park as long as I’ve known her. This coffee table book is well illustrated and informative. The “grateful shade” part of the subtitle is very true, many parks helped provide relief from the hear in the days prior to air conditioning.

book back cover
Back cover

Like many of you I’ve biked through, attended events at a pavilion, and shopped at the Tower Grove Farmers Market. Doyle has been holding many book signing events, she’d probably love it if you bought your copy directly from her.

— Steve
————————————————————————
St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.

 

Advertisement



[custom-facebook-feed]

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe