Too much for too little

imageFound two old clips while going through some personal papers, both on subjects that are front and center in current St. Louis public policy debates. Both stories address urban redevelopment strategies that involve the transfer of public money to private interests. It was a strategy very much in tune with the times — the notion that the private sector, if offered incentives, could accomplish what the public sector couldn’t or wouldn’t.

The net result of this strategy:
Some sections of St. Louis flourished while others circled the drain. The city’s population continued to decline, including a big exodus of young African-American families in the first decade of the 21st century.

This 1979 clip is from a Washington University magazine, now defunct, named Subject to Change. I wrote the story when I was 20, after working on housing issues as a VISTA volunteer.


The 1984 clip, by Peter Downs, was published in the St. Louis Journalism Review after it absorbed a sister publication named FOCUS/Midwest. I was managing editor of the SJR at the time; Peter has written for a wide range of publications, including several others I edited.


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