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Old 01-17-2014, 08:28 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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I think St. Louis has a severe "open space" problem-that is, there is too much open space (greenfield/brownfield land, parking lots, abandoned space, etc.) within the reaches of downtown. It seems to me that St. Louis has become a car-dependent city, and it's ruining the integrity of the urban area as well as the skyline. It just doesn't look or feel right.

I personally feel that parking garages and extended public transit would help reduce the issue and help reduce parking and congestion to certain thoroughfares. Of course, we'd need rapid growth and a construction boom within the city itself to replace all those open spaces that already exist, and that's a whole different struggle. Also, I feel like there are too many parks within the city center-while the CityGarden and that strip stretching from the Arch and Courthouse to Union Station looks very nice, I feel that most of the parks beyond that strip, like Lucas Park Dog Park and Eternal Flame Park, take up unnecessary space and disrupt St. Louis' urban integrity. And of course there's the massive swathes of abandoned land just north of downtown that were demolished in an appalling lack of foresight and are now wholly abandoned and decrepit. I feel the only hope for this area is to rezone it from residential purposes to commercial or mixed-use. Perhaps we could see some offices, or better yet, condos mixed in with shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels, that could get business from the nearby Dome and Lumiere Place. Mixed-use would probably work best really, as North City was traditionally a mixed-use area of the city anyway.

So that's my take on empty space in St. Louis. What's yours?
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:10 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
136 posts, read 244,533 times
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Short answer, yes, there are too many open spaces, but isn't this simply the result of the loss in population since the 50's, and therefore to be expected? I would love for St. Louis to get denser, but this would require people to start moving into the city.

Regarding your view on parks, I must disagree. Despite the presence of two large parks within the city limits, St. Louis doesn't rank in the top ten for most parks per square area in the city (NYC has a much larger parks/area ratio than STL, despite the much higher population density). If anything, most empty spaces and places with abandoned buildings should be converted into parks, in my opinion.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:32 AM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewStLouisan View Post
Short answer, yes, there are too many open spaces, but isn't this simply the result of the loss in population since the 50's, and therefore to be expected? I would love for St. Louis to get denser, but this would require people to start moving into the city.

Regarding your view on parks, I must disagree. Despite the presence of two large parks within the city limits, St. Louis doesn't rank in the top ten for most parks per square area in the city (NYC has a much larger parks/area ratio than STL, despite the much higher population density). If anything, most empty spaces and places with abandoned buildings should be converted into parks, in my opinion.
Personally I think that abandoned buildings with architectural value should be reused. I can see empty spaces being converted to parks, but I also think that the city has to be open to giving some of those potential parks up to developers if demand gets high.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:01 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
1,221 posts, read 2,380,529 times
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Yes. WAY too much open space. Part of this is due to population loss, but the other part is that the land in the city is just so cheap that it's easy to do stupid things with it. If the property values went up then you would see developers making the most out of the land we have, but right now the situation is such that we get turds like Ballparking Lot Village.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
3,360 posts, read 7,328,122 times
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I think Downtown has to much open space, and interestingly enough it's the part of the city that through the last 10 years saw the most growth...Many vacant and abandoned warehouses however were utilized in creating new loft space to better accommodate the new residents.

I disagree that the parks are a problem, not everyone in the city will go to Forest Park or Tower Grove Park everytime they want open space, neighborhood parks are important to the sustainability of a neighborhood.

St. Louis as a whole is very car dependent, but i'm speaking of the entire region. The St. Louis street car lines were destroyed years ago and replaced with buses which were seen as the way of the future. The interstates we've build have cutoff and divided neighborhoods leaving one area to thrive while the one across the road to rot. The city lost it's appeal to families YEARS ago, and that hurts any city's viability. The city attracting young singles to it's urban core is the start...but the next step is retaining these individuals and turning them into property owners who will raise their families in St. Louis City, without the need for a lottery type charter school or private school enrollment.

As more people begin to move towards the city, you'll see the ability to expand public services (transport), new buildings, etc...don't put the cart before the horse, or the city will become even less likely to succeed than it is currently...someone has to pay for all the infrastructure improvements that are mentioned, and more taxes don't tend to attract a lot of new residents...just look at the difference between the IL side of the river vs. the MO side and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:03 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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Yeah, the St. Louis metro area definitely is too car dependent. I'm hoping this will end someday, but I doubt it will be soon. Anyway, I think I might have miscommunicated-I don't think we should fill in parks in residential neighborhoods. Parks like Lafayette Square Park are definitely worth keeping. I'm just talking about parks that take up space in downtown, like Lucas Park Dog Park. I think theres a few more parks downtown than we need; that strip from Union Station to the Arch is nice, but more than that seems excessive. I don't think we should clamor to fill those spots just yet (we should renovate and restore older buildings first), but I don't think we should build any more new parks either.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:19 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
7,266 posts, read 5,756,815 times
Reputation: 4274
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
I think St. Louis has a severe "open space" problem-that is, there is too much open space (greenfield/brownfield land, parking lots, abandoned space, etc.) within the reaches of downtown. It seems to me that St. Louis has become a car-dependent city, and it's ruining the integrity of the urban area as well as the skyline. It just doesn't look or feel right.

I personally feel that parking garages and extended public transit would help reduce the issue and help reduce parking and congestion to certain thoroughfares. Of course, we'd need rapid growth and a construction boom within the city itself to replace all those open spaces that already exist, and that's a whole different struggle. Also, I feel like there are too many parks within the city center-while the CityGarden and that strip stretching from the Arch and Courthouse to Union Station looks very nice, I feel that most of the parks beyond that strip, like Lucas Park Dog Park and Eternal Flame Park, take up unnecessary space and disrupt St. Louis' urban integrity. And of course there's the massive swathes of abandoned land just north of downtown that were demolished in an appalling lack of foresight and are now wholly abandoned and decrepit. I feel the only hope for this area is to rezone it from residential purposes to commercial or mixed-use. Perhaps we could see some offices, or better yet, condos mixed in with shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels, that could get business from the nearby Dome and Lumiere Place. Mixed-use would probably work best really, as North City was traditionally a mixed-use area of the city anyway.

So that's my take on empty space in St. Louis. What's yours?
Not to be snarky, because I love St. Louis, but I think an "open space problem" is what naturally happens when your population peaks at 850k and then drops to 318k and the square mileage stays the same. There's going to be a lot of abandoned and otherwise open space.

St. Louis is in many ways better off than Detroit, but you see the same things there on a much larger scale. It's kind of fascinating really. Fortunately we, unlike what I understand of Detroit, have some great vibrant areas that were never abandoned, many of which are gaining population now.

There is a lot of space and opportunity.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:14 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
Reputation: 1849
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUTGR View Post
Not to be snarky, because I love St. Louis, but I think an "open space problem" is what naturally happens when your population peaks at 850k and then drops to 318k and the square mileage stays the same. There's going to be a lot of abandoned and otherwise open space.

St. Louis is in many ways better off than Detroit, but you see the same things there on a much larger scale. It's kind of fascinating really. Fortunately we, unlike what I understand of Detroit, have some great vibrant areas that were never abandoned, many of which are gaining population now.

There is a lot of space and opportunity.
I definitely agree with this. St Louis and Detroit have many parallels as Rust Belt cities, one of them being (as you said) suffering large-scale population contraction and abandonment. But luckily, St. Louis isn't reliant on a single industry (automobiles), which is allowing us to recover instead of going bankrupt. At least, that's how I see it. Or are there other reasons St Louis is turning around and Detroit isn't? Why did Detroit go bankrupt and we didnt?
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