April 22, 2013

Last House Standing

Cities: Episode #8

Between 1950 and 2000, some 60% of the built environment in St. Louis's Old North neighborhood was demolished, and the majority of its residents left the area. Abandoned buildings have fallen into disrepair, but should they remain standing? If the last houses on a block are torn down, leaving empty, litter-filled lots, how can we expect these neighborhoods to repopulate and rebuild? Michael Allen, architectural historian and director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, describes the ambiguous role of historic preservation in neighborhoods like Old North, and challenges us to see declining urban landscapes both for what they are and what they might become.

“The problems that plague a place like Old North really are the problems everyone shares in the city as a whole”

image flickr: Michael allen. audio free music archive: Glass boy; Freesound: christikuhn, corsica_S, genel, Msxmanic, pooleside.