Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Michael Allen and the Ecology of Absense

Met Micheal earlier this year after stalking his blog, the Ecology of Absence. Our first meeting was at Arcadia where we spent an afternoon exploring parts of the city near the studio. Michael's blog is well- known to many St Louisans and is often researched by historic preser- vationists. Michael might be best-known for discovering the plan of developer Paul Mckee in 2007 who is currently proposing a development plan for North St Louis that would result in the demolition of much of that portion of the city and displacement of current residents. Michael contributed several photographs to SPORE from the blog.

The Ecology of Absence is a voice for historic preservation and a chronicle of architectural change in the St. Louis region that started as a companion to the website of the same name. The blog focuses on changes in the built environment that come about as a city attempts to stem the deindustrialization, depopulation, shrinking public services and loss of architectural fabric that define the modern American urban condition. There is occasional coverage of other cities and rural areas. The site contains a great array of photographs as well as information available to anyone interested in these issues.

In 2007, Allen discovered that a developer Paul Mckee, was buying up hundreds of properties on St Louis's North Side using various companies one of which, Blairmont is currently proposing a development plan for North Side. The development would result in the demolition of much of the existing building in that part of the city as well as displacement of current residents many of whom have roots in the area dating generations. See the article here that was run in 2007 in the River Front Times (RFT) exposing the developer's plan to St Louis residents. Presently there are many residents throughout the city concerned with this development and actively working to stop it.

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