Under new management…

There’s been a lot of moving around at the University, and the Urban Views blog site has been neglected while larger matters were addressed.  I’m pleased to say that the site is back in business and there is a lot to say!

More to come soon….



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The IUR Has Temporarily Relocated

In order to accomodate ongoing renovations in Rendleman Hall, the Institute for Urban Research has temporarily relocated to the East St. Louis Campus, Building A. You can still reach us at Campus Box 1246, and at (618) 650-5262. Thank you to the SIUE East St. Louis Center for welcoming us – we look forward to working beside you for the next several months!

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You’re Invited!




A Look at the First Histories of St. Louis

John Hoover, Executive Director

St. Louis Mercantile Library

John Hoover will discuss the early histories of St. Louis in the context of the famous manuscript written by Auguste Chouteau, the Narrative on the Founding of St. Louis.  Since its translation and even before that the document was known and became a springboard for anyone attempting to document the early history of St. Louis.  John will show some of these early histories held by the Mercantile Library, which are part of an exhibition timed to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis.


12 PM

Mercantile Library

University of Missouri St. Louis Main Library


There is visitor parking in the West Drive garage.

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Universities in the St. Louis Region

Much focus has been placed on the negative aspects of St. Louis, or urban areas in general. While crime rates and poverty has taken over attention in the media, little attention has been given to the positive aspects of St. Louis. One of these great advantages St. Louis has is the extensive network of universities throughout the region.

There are a number of public universities within the St. Louis region making affordable education accessible for citizens within the St. Louis region. The public universities in St. Louis include University of Missouri of St. Louis, Harris Stowe University, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the metro east. The Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, University of Missouri at Columbia, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale lie only a few hours away. In addition there is an extensive network of community colleges within the region increasing access and lowering costs for higher education.

The number of private institutions is also extensive. Washington University in St. Louis is a top research university in the country and is one of the region’s top employers. St. Louis University is also a major private university located within the city and is recognized for its research and degree programs. Additional institutions like Lindenwood University, Webster University and McKendree University provide an array of programs for students throughout the region.

What does this mean for the St. Louis area? For one, this network of universities has produced an educated work force for the region. This has provided a healthy environment for new businesses to move to St. Louis and thrive. Because of this highly educated workforce, major employers have offices or headquarters in St. Louis. However, we must continue to work to keep this skilled workforce in St. Louis. In St. Louis Currents, Jim Evans, President of Lindenwood University, says, “To keep premium talent in this part of the country, we educators and business leaders must become aware of and more sensitive to what degree holders in their twenties and thirties are looking for in both their careers and their communities.”[1] This is vital to prevent brain drain and see the investments the region puts into education.

Finally, these universities have allowed St. Louis to be on the forefront of technological change and research. An abundance of medical research at Washington University and St. Louis University is curing diseases and easing suffering. The problems with urban areas are being solved at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and University of Missouri St. Louis. Our local history is being preserved through all of these institutions, and the list goes on. However, these institutions are not tackling these problems alone. Collaborative efforts between the universities in St. Louis have increased their effectiveness in solving the community’s issues. The IUR is involved in both the St. Louis Metropolitan Research Exchange and the Applied Research Collaborative which are trying to solve urban questions and produce sound public policy.

The impact of these institutions on the St. Louis region is great. The network of outstanding universities is one bright spot, among many, that should receive more focus when talking about St. Louis. What other bright spots are there in St. Louis? If you sift through the negativity, a bright spot is probably not too hard to find!

[1] Evans, J. D. (2010). Higher education and the well-being of the St. Louis region. In  M. Abbott & A. J. Theising (Eds.), St. Louis currents: the bi-state region after a century of planning (pp.375-395). St. Louis, MO: Reedy Press.


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Welcome Heather!

The Insitute for Urban Research would like to welcome our new office support associate, Heather Birdsell! Heather is from Staunton, Illinois and brings a wealth of experience and energy to the IUR.

She says, “I am married and have 4 children. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and watching my children who are involved in various activities (basketball, volleyball, band). I am an active member of my community and church, I am a Youth Group Leader, and I volunteer regularly.  Before coming to SIUE, I worked at a financial institution, which is quite a bit different than here.  But, I am very excited to begin this new career and look forward to being a part of the Institute for Urban Research!”

Welcome Heather!

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Gateway Arch Renovation

When people around the country think of St. Louis, what usually pops into their head?

The Gateway Arch.

This iconic landmark just celebrated its 48th birthday a few days ago, and it is about to embark on a rebirth of its own. Voters recently passed Proposition P – one that will change the face of St. Louis for the better.

If you have ever visited the arch from downtown, you will probably remember one if it’s main deficiencies: the difficulty of accessing the grounds from downtown because of the sunken Interstate 70. This interstate that runs between the arch and downtown has been a barrier to the arch for decades. Only two streets from the heart of downtown connect with the arch grounds, creating a danger for families forced to cross busy lanes of traffic.

There have been many suggestions for fixing the problem.  Saunders Schultz put forth good ideas many years ago (www.saundersschultz.com) and the City-to-River group also has put forth some smart thinking (www.citytoriver.org).
The lid plan proposed by the Danforth Foundation is the one that
received the blessings of local leaders, and this is the plan being
implemented right now. The new project will ease these concerns by building a cap over the interstate, turning some streets into pedestrian only, and allowing the arch grounds to become more connected with the heart of downtown. Other improvements will be made as well, such as updating the arch grounds themselves with new trees and sidewalks and renovating the museum underneath the arch and in the courthouse.

This is a huge leap forward for the city of St. Louis, which has seen a drop in visitors to its main attraction in recent years. It is also important that the city continue its investment in downtown. By spending money on beautification projects such as this, the city is sending the message that downtown is a place to locate your business or family.

How this project will affect the city long-term remains to be seen. But, it is definitely a win-win for the city and citizens of St. Louis.

before archafter arch

A before and after view of the arch from downtown, looking east. Picture Source: www.focus-stl.org

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New Data Summit: You are Invited!

You are Invited to the new Data Summit
November 19th 8:30am-12:00 pm
Il Monestero, 3050 Olive St.,
St. Louis, MO 63103.

Dear Data Summit Participant, and Potential Participants,

We are pleased to announce the time for the reschedueld Data Summit. The time is 8:30am-12:00pm on Nov. 19th, 2013. More details will follow.


Sarah Coffin

We still invite you to come join us to discuss data efforts throughout the St. Louis region, including the OneSTL Regional Data Portal and other innovative data democratization efforts and data analysis.

This event will bring together data users and providers to showcase the work being done locally and discuss how future data-sharing collaborations can be designed to maximize the benefits to the St. Louis region. We hope to encourage summit attendees to utilize multiple data sources to look at problems in different ways, use data to drive policy discussions and conversations, and foster collaboration by building an extended network of data providers.

The Data Summit will be a mix of presentations and breakout discussion sessions to allow us all to share ideas and chart a course for future data sharing efforts in St. Louis. We recommend that attendees bring any data they would like to share on a flash drive, as volunteers from the OneSTL Regional Data Portal wioll be on-hand to assist them in learning how to upload data to the portal.

We look forward to seeing you! Please RSVP to stldata@slu.edu


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Nutrition in the Urban Community

The food people eat is often influenced by their environment, financial situation, and education. Many preventable illnesses are caused by the over-consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages. In order to create a healthier population, people need to have access to food items that will help them construct the best diet possible.

In urban areas healthy and affordable food options are outnumbered by fast food chains and liquor stores. The price of organic food is another deterrent that keeps people from making healthy dietary choices. Furthermore, focusing on making healthy food available and lowering the prices could be essential to helping people live better quality lives.

In order to bring prices down and make healthy food accessible initiatives such as neighborhood gardens, where people grow their own food, could be a possible solution. If each family is taught how to grow specific foods, this could be a way for people to save money and eat better. This would also allow people to be less dependent on processed food making them more self-sufficient.

Initiatives by the East Side Health District have started to make healthy food more readily available. Placing a farmer’s market in the inner city may also give people an alternative choice to unhealthy food. Educational presentations on the positive and negative impacts of eating certain foods will give people useful dietary information that can be applied at meal times. If this information is given to people living in an urban environment, it may result in many more people living longer healthier lives.

A majority of health problems facing the general population have been caused by the food people eat. The increase of healthy food options could be crucial to creating a healthier population. It is no secret that when people are healthy they have the ability live happy lives.

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Dunham Museum Featured on St. Louis Public Radio

The Dunham Museum was featured on St. Louis Public Radio last Friday! IUR Director Dr. Andrew Theising and Dunahm Museum board president speak to public radio’s Erin Williams about the struggles the museum faces to stay open. You can listen to the full story below!


npr show

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18th Annual SLACO Neighborhoods Conference

You are invited to the 18th Annual SLACO Regional Neighborhoods Conference!
When: Saturday, November 2nd 8AM-2PM
Where: Harris-Stowe State University

Join other neighborhood leaders, residents, and resource people from the St. Louis metropolitan area to meet new people and exchange ideas about ow to create a great neighborgood.

Topics: Success Stories, How-To’s, Technology, Community Collaboration, Crime and Public Safety, and more!

Register on-line, or call the office at 314-361-9406.

Complete program on web, slaco-mo.org/Neighborgood_Conference.php.

SLACO, 5888 Plymouth Avenue, Saint Louis MO 63112, (314)361-9406

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