Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Modern On The Southside

There isn't a development in St. Louis that doesn't catch my attention, but a new project planned for South St. Louis has leapt out at me. It is to be known as Val Place and is located at Virginia, Alabama, and Delor in Dutchtown South. Millennium Restoration & Development is the developer. The site will contain twenty, three story townhouses starting at $180,000.

There is nothing special about what I just described, but some aldermen and developers need to pay attention to what will follow. First off, this is what we call an urban design. Notice no driveways in the front. The garages are in the rear off of an alley, and the front is oriented to the street and sidewalk. The site plan also calls for density. What a novel idea. Not everything has to be single family with large yards. The design is also rather modern for St. Louis infill. While I agree that many so called modern designs are really not that great, I really like this particular design. Looks like a good use of siding, stucco, glass, and probably concrete. Nice to see a design that doesn't try to hide vinyl with an awkward brick front. The balconies also add a nice touch, and the large one off the kitchens should make a nice area to sit and enjoy a nice evening talking to the neighbors.

Overall, Millennium has done a good job with an odd site.

Technology and Crime

*Class Post*

The question of whether technology is causing more crime or if it is just there because it is in our culture is an interesting one. Technology has certainly opened the opportunity for crimes such as hacking and stealing data, and has probably made stalking easier in some cases. It has also made plagiarism much easier. But overall, I don't think technology has lead to any increase in crime, or made crime easier. Technology is part of every day life, so criminals make use of it. Bragging about a murder in a blog is comparable to people making a video of a crime and sharing it or bragging to friends. As technology changes, peoples habits change and it becomes incorporated.

Technology doesn't cause crime, criminals are just stupid in their use of it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I know this was directed at Steve Patterson, but it's about time. From

Downtown Now

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
In certain quadrants of the blogosphere, this will be Big News: Downtown Now! has updated its website.

Downtown Now! Website

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Another Gem Renovated

There is finally a solid redevelopment plan for the Old Missouri Pacific Building downtown, and it involves new construction. The existing building will be renovated with retail space, 51,000 sq. ft. of office space and 108 condos. A new tower built with a modern design will rise 15 floors on Tucker and contain retail space and condos. A 750 car parking garage will be built in between with a pool and other resident facilities on the top level. Two adjacent parks will also be renovated to the west and south. The Lawrence Group is handling the work.

This is one of the landmark buildings downtown, and I'm glad it will be put to such a good mixed use. The new tower should make a drastic difference along the barren blocks of Tucker, and it will hide the boring back side of the Missouri Pacific Buildings. This will make a barren spot downtown lively once again. The parks certainly need some sprucing up, although I agree with others that the park to the west is a little bit too focused on the Park Pacific. I personally would like to see a high-rise along Tucker on part of the current park land, but I can only ask for so much at once.

Overall, I give the development a preliminary grade of A.


*Class Post*

What do you call 1,075,000+ articles created completely by volunteer effort? That would obviously be the English version of Wikipedia. Many great things have come out of the Internet, but this has to be one of the best. Anyone can sign up to edit pages, making the possible topics infinitely greater than a yearly encyclopedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica. And the best part is that according to studies, Wikipedia is just as accurate as all the leading encyclopedias that don't allow the general public to write them. The information is endless, and everything is categorized and linked together with similar topics. Best of all, Wikipedia is completely free!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

*Class Post*

According to the article from the University of Dayton, 85% of college students equaling 3.9 million students have accounts on Facebook. The social networking site for students has spread from just a few schools to every college and thousands of high schools in just over a year. Students use it to tell others about themselves, keep track of friends, plan events, and post pictures from parties and other events in their daily life. Departments of Public Safety have sometimes made use of these pictures and other statements made on the site. Students have received various punishments because of something found on the site. Both of the Departments cited in the articles, Princeton's and Dayton's, deny any use of Facebook for more than just an aid for investigations. I am okay with some minor use of the site, but I am wary of any use from an Public Safety Officers, especially an officer that may like to browse the site looking for violations.

There are many reasons that Facebook should not be used. First, it is hard to tell where something is from a picture unless there is some type of landmark to give it away. Like was stated in the article, how can someone tell what is in a cup in a picture. If the supposed violation took place off campus, any DPS has no right to cite someone for an offense. Second, no matter what a school wants to say, anything that happens on Facebook should be private. The site is password protected, and it is not hosted on any university related servers. I would think that a warrant would be required to gather any evidence from Facebook, because it is not in the public domain. This brings up serious issues with invasion of privacy that need to be dealt with. The director of Police at Princeton says that he can legally back up his statement that Facebook is not private. Even if pulling evidence from Facebook is legal, it doesn't make it right.

No matter the legalities of using sites like Facebook, we should all be a little more careful.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Ballpark

I spent three hours tonight milling around outside of the new Cardinal's ballpark. It was great to see all of the fans back for another baseball season, and there was a definite buzz in the air. This was my first chance to get up close to the park after several planned tours fell through this summer for one reason or another. In my opinion, the still under construction park turned out great. There is a connection with the street that old Busch came as far away as possible from having. I was on the sidewalk, but I felt like I was part of the action. For all of the complaining about the park that some other urbanists do, I think the architecture and design is good. Busch is built like a baseball park ought to be. The brick is a nice nod to Cupples Station, and the exposed steel gives a bit of a contemporary feel. The Eads bridge style pedestrian bridge makes for a beautiful termination of Spruce St. This doesn't even take into account Ballpark Village tying into the park. This will be a great transformation for the south end of downtown from a lifeless and unfriendly area to a great urban "village."

After I finish sorting through the 279 pics I took tonight, I will have many up for your viewing pleasure at

In Case You Cared

Here's how I voted in today's election in the city.

School Board:
Peter Down
Donna Jones

Prop R:

Prop EJ:

Prop G:
A reserved Yes

Seems to be pretty much how the other urban bloggers voted.