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New Blog: STL Rising

July 24, 2005 Books 3 Comments

Friend and frequent commentator to this site, Rick Bonasch, has started his own blog entitled STL Rising.

STL Rising is a blog dedicated to the renaissance of the City of St. Louis. It’s a place to discuss issues and possibilities, all in the spirit of supporting the continuing progress of this great metropolis of the Mississippi Valley.

He only has a few posts so far but keep an eye on his site. His positive take on our city should be a nice compliment to my more critical perspective.

If you are technically savvy you’ll be happy to know you can get an RSS feed for his site as well.

– Steve


Better OFF: Flipping The Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

July 23, 2005 Books, Environment 9 Comments

Eric and Mary Brende spent 18 months living without electricity in a community that considers most Amish excessive. “Better OFF: Flipping the Switch on Technology” is an account of their lessons as Eric Brende, a highly educated man, attempted to learn more about the relationships between man and machine. Does technology improve our lives? Do labor-saving devices actually reduce work or just create more work to pay for them?

Through their journey they encountered many challenges and new experiences. Brende’s writing has you right there sowing the seeds, weeding the pumpkin patch and giving birth to their first child in their home without electricity. It is exciting reading. I finished the book in less than 24 hours, something I rarely do.

So what does the story of a couple in Amish country have to do with urbanity in St. Louis? A lot more than you might think. Living in a long established and compact urban environment leaves farm land for farming — not Wal-Marts. Residents of our older ethnic neighborhoods tend to form bonds and help each other out in some of the same ways described in Brende’s book. Reduced dependance on a car can allow someone to live better on less income than many that make more money but spent it all on transportation just to make more money. But the connection is even closer — the Brende’s call St. Louis home!
… Continue Reading


CNNMoney: St. Louis Has Higher Cost of Living Than Seattle & Portland

June 27, 2005 Books 6 Comments

A recent study by Mercer Human Resources Consulting placed St. Louis as the 102nd costliest city out of 144 cities worldwide. Seattle came in as 103rd and Portland Oregon as 112th. CNNMoney reports:

Mercer conducts the survey to help multinational companies and governments determine how much to pay their expatriate employees. The survey includes 144 cities across the world, and measures costs including housing, food, clothing, transportation and entertainment.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. On one hand I’d say I think they are nuts but on the other I might conclude that as a region if you count transportation maybe we are more costly than Seattle or Portland. Oddly missing from the list was the Dallas-Ft. Worth region.

I think St. Louis is in good company with some important cities, a good association. Didn’t see Memphis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Tulsa or other cites on the list. Our industrial city buddy Detroit was just before us at 101. To see the complete list click here.

What do you think? Is it good to be on such a list and thought of as more expensive than Seattle? Or do we want to keep a reputation for being affordable?

– Steve


Gravois-Jefferson Streetcar Suburb National Historic District in City Scene

May 31, 2005 Books, History/Preservation Comments Off on Gravois-Jefferson Streetcar Suburb National Historic District in City Scene

In the June 2005 issue of The Healthy Planet I take a look at the new Gravois-Jefferson Streetcar Suburb National Historic District. From the story:

The Gravois-Jefferson district includes the term “streetcar suburb” in its name. This confuses some people as this is not thought of as a suburb. But in the late 19th century this area was far from the city center and cars were not yet part of the picture. Road conditions even made cycling difficult. As a result these neighborhoods were built in a compact and highly pedestrian friendly manner. Streetcar lines took residents to downtown and other parts of the city.

For the rest of the story you’ll need to pick up a copy of the Healthy Planet – it’s free! I saw some at Soulard Market and I think Mokabe’s also has it as well.

If you missed the May ‘City Scene’ article in the Healthy Planet on downtown you can read it online.

– Steve


New “City Scene” Article in The Healthy Planet

May 2, 2005 Books 3 Comments

Yours truly is now writing a monthly column in the local “Natural Living Magazine”, The Healthy Planet. My first column is in the current (May 2005) issue on local newsstands. From the article:

Downtown St. Louis is no longer just a business district with the usual corporate offices, law firms and copy centers. Added to the mix over the last few years are hundreds of new residential lofts along with new businesses serving this growing residential neighborhood.

This influx of people has made downtown interesting beyond the normal workweek. New restaurants and stores are opening at a lightning pace just as every available building is being converted to living space. People are walking the sidewalks or biking to their destination. The streets are active morning, noon and night.

For the rest of the article you need to pick up a free copy. Look for The Healthy Planet South Grand establishments like Mangia Italiano & Grand Books; Left Bank Books in the West End, or downtown locations like the YMCA and City Museum.

If you are interested in advertising in The Healthy Planet please contact my good friend (and Food & Travel Editor), Lois Brady.

– Steve