St. Louis

The Heartland's Revival

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For roughly the past half century, the middle swath of America has been widely written off as reactionary, backward, and des­tined for unceasing decline.  read more »

The Vital Midwest

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John Austin at the Michigan Economic Center is a long time commentator on Midwest economic issues, going back to at least his 2006 Brookings Institute report “The Vital Center.”  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

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The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »

St. Louis Blues

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My latest article is online in City Journal and is a look at the most recent failed attempt to merge St. Louis city and St. Louis county governments in light of the backdrop of civic challenges there. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

St. Louis and the Consequences of Consolidation

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Brian Feldman’s piece about how consolidation killed St. Louis got a lot of attention when it came out last year. He argues that a rollback of anti-trust regulations that allowed industrial consolidation was the silent killer of what were once key regional business capitals like St. Louis.  read more »

Subjects:

Super Bowl: Super Subsidy Sunday

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Imagine what it would cost to fly from New York to Los Angeles if the country tolerated a National Airline League? Answer: about what a “personal seat license” will cost at the new City of Champions Stadium in Los Angeles, say $28,000.

In the latest shifting of NFL deckchairs, the League raided St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland — cities that need things to cheer about — and told team owners that they are free to move to Los Angeles, the city of tomorrow, because of its willingness, today, to chip in on the construction of a $2.66 billion stadium in Inglewood, a city within Los Angeles, for the Rams and possibly the Chargers.  read more »

Life is Good in St. Louis

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The headline line in the Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked "Are St. Louis Area's Home Prices too Low?” This is could not possibly have appeared describing any major metropolitan area of Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. Nor will newspapers in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Portland, Seattle, Boston, New York or in any of the overpriced markets of California decry low prices any time soon.  read more »

Roadmap to Surprises of the Rustbelt

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Back in New York, no one quite believed my accounts of urban renewal across the Midwest, through a piece of the Rustbelt, and then back — that St. Louis is the Brooklyn of the heartland, or that even downtown Buffalo has charms. I tended to be on safer ground when I described Targeted small towns in Ohio, or drive-by shootings in Chicago.  read more »

To Rebuild, the Midwest Must Face Its Real and Severe Problems

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Despite well-publicized problems that earned it the nickname of the “Rust Belt”, on paper the Midwest possesses some formidable strengths. These include the largest concentration of engineers in America, world class educational institutions, a plethora of headquarters of global champions ranging from Proctor and Gamble to Caterpillar to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world’s greatest reserves of fresh water, and an expanding immigrant population.  read more »

Housing Affordability: St. Louis’ Competitive Advantage

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Things are looking better in St. Louis. For decades, St. Louis has been one of the slowest-growing metropolitan areas of the United States. Its historical core city has lost more than 60 percent of its population since 1950, a greater loss than any other major core municipality in the modern era.  Nonetheless, the metropolitan area, including the city, added nearly 50 percent to its population from 1950. The fate of St. Louis has been similar to that of Rust Belt metropolitan areas in the Midwest and East, as the nation has moved steadily West and South since World War II (Note).  read more »