St. Louis Throws Car-Oriented Planning to the Curb

Monday, January 17, 2011
The City of St. Louis in 1912

The City of St. Louis in 1912

Like many cities around the country, St. Louis is in search of a more sustainable, more dense city that promotes walkability and public transit. With the help of $150,000 in stimulus funds, St. Louis will soon be evaluating its zoning codes to affect such land-use changes in unincorporated areas around the county. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described plans to densify the county focusing on redeveloping currently built-up areas.

St. Louis has been making smart growth gains as its downtown and surrounding neighborhoods have been built up over the years and with the construction of light rail lines connecting the city and suburbs. Plans for a revamped zoning strategy would be targeted at unincorporated areas of the county outside the city limits where an estimated one-third of the county’s population live. Most of this space has been built up in an unwalkable pattern that diminishes the value of any density that already exists.

Interviews with four finalist planning firms have already taken place and a winner is expected to be named soon. Final zoning changes could be approved within a year and a half.

Among the strategies for promoting a denser city, planners hope to boost walkability around transit lines, promote mixed-uses in taller buildings, increase sustainable rainwater management practices, and expand the urban realm with sidewalks that promote outdoor dining, all while appealing to developers to add emphasis to public spaces.

One Response to “St. Louis Throws Car-Oriented Planning to the Curb”

  1. tacony palmyra says:

    Branden: I’m not personally familiar with this project, but based on my reading of the linked article, this summary is a bit incorrect. It sounds like you’re assuming that the City of St Louis is a part of St Louis County, which it is not.

    Much like Baltimore, St Louis is an independent city– meaning that the city itself is basically a “county equivalency” for statistical purposes. St Louis County contains suburbs that surround the city, but the city is not a part of the county in any way. The article makes it clear that the County is revamping its zoning in the unincorporated parts of the county where it has jurisdiction. There are a bunch of municipalities in the County that have their own zoning codes. You seem to have read the references to zoning in “municipalities” in the article as meaning the city, but they’re actually referring to the suburban municipalities where the other 2/3 of county residents live.

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