Public Law Review Symposium Sparks Commentary

June 7, 2013

SLU LAW hosted the “Saving the Cities: How to Make America's Urban Core Sustainable in the Twenty-first Century” symposium in March, and one panelist’s visit to the Gateway City inspired him to write a column comparing St. Louis to Detroit.

“In many ways, St. Louis could be a mirror image of our own city. Both St. Louis and Detroit have lost roughly two-thirds of their residents since peak population years. Both show distressing signs of vacancy and abandonment in the hardest-hit districts,” John Gallagher wrote in the Detroit Free Press. “Indeed, driving in from the airport Thursday morning, I could have squinted and thought myself back in the Motor City.”

Gallagher is a reporter for the Free Press who recently wrote the book, “Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.”

The St. Louis Beacon published a response column by author and former University of Missouri-St. Louis professor Lana Stein, who wrote that though there might be similarities between the two cities, St. Louis has characteristics that have kept its urban core stronger over time.

“However, when you leave the cities’ respective downtowns, there is a difference. Detroit does not have the neighborhoods that St. Louis has. It does not have integrated, stable areas; and it lacks the neighborhood commercial areas St. Louisans enjoy,” Stein wrote.

For more information on the “Saving the Cities” event, including the other panelists, their presentation materials, and videos of the panels, you can visit the symposium webpage

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