by Michael R. Allen
In how many academic debates on urban decline is the worst American case posed as a tossup between St. Louis and Detroit?
Now that’s the World Series tossup, and things have changed as the nation’s eyes turn to the baseball teams of these two cities. Both cities remain bleeding buildings, businesses and residents, but they no longer come close to their mythic no-man’s-land images (they never did, truth be told). St. Louis has started a modest population gain, and both cities are seeing major reinvestment in their downtown areas. While smaller than Detroit, St. Louis is probably the leader of the two in demonstrating how to rebound from heavy population loss and de-industrialization.
Overall, though, I’m delighted that these two comeback cities are now getting the world’s attention. Maybe this can help erase those negative myths further.