Political scientist to report on neighborhood conditions in St. Louis area

Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at UMSL

UMSL political scientist Todd Swanstrom will examine the condition of neighborhoods in St. Louis and St. Louis County at a forum beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St. in St. Louis. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Great neighborhoods make for a great region, according to a new joint series between the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis.

The first forum in the “Great Neighborhoods for a Great Region” series, “Neighborhood Change in St. Louis: What’s Happening, Why It Matters and What We Can Do About it,” will explore why strengthening neighborhoods is important to regional growth and how the region can support communities. It will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St. in St. Louis.

Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at UMSL, will be the featured presenter. His report will examine the condition of neighborhoods in St. Louis and St. Louis County. He’ll also explore the broad regional trends that shape neighborhood development, comparing St. Louis to other similar metro areas in the Midwest.

“In total population, the St. Louis metro area is performing better than some of our peers, but the center city has lost considerable population and we are building many more housing units than there are new households in the region, leading to abandonment of housing in the urban core,” Swanstrom said.

Neighborhood change within the urban core is truly a “tale of two cities,” he added.

“Many neighborhoods are attracting new households and investment while others are suffering from concentrated poverty and decline,” he said. “The crazy quilt of neighborhoods in urban St. Louis represents both an opportunity and a challenge – an opportunity to build on the positive trend toward urban living and a challenge to make sure the neighborhoods left behind do not fall into social decay, pulling previously stable neighborhoods down with them.”

The event will also feature a discussion panel composed of the following:

• Amelia Bond, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation
• Rodney Crim, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation
• Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association

Henry Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration at Washington University, will moderate the forum.

A reception will immediately follow the forum. Email policyforum@wustl.edu for reservations and more information.

Swanstrom discussed his research Nov. 12 on “Total Information AM” on KMOX (1120 AM).


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