St. Louis is a city in the state of Missouri and the only independent city in that state. Its estimated population as of 2006 was about 347,000. It sits on the western bank of the Mississippi River, and is famous for its Gateway Arch, which serves as a monument to American expansion westward. The city also hosted the 1904 World's Fair, where the ice cream cone was first introduced to the world.
Once a thriving metropolis on the banks of the Mississippi, St. Louis has decayed into a ghostly landscape of vacant houses, boarded-up storefronts, and abandoned factories. The Gateway City has become one of the most depopulated, deindustrialized, and segregated examples of American urban decay. The city's decay stems from multiple causes, ranging from private real estate zoning restrictions, poor local planning and zoning decisions, and Nanny state federal housing policies that led to a "white flight" of middle classes from the central city. A generation of liberal "urban renewal," aimed at eradicating blight, made it worse. The city's notorious high rise public housing units were finally dynamited.
- Gordon, Colin. Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City (2009), 304pp