Governmental structure, however, isn't the biggest obstacle to effective urban planning, Judd says, and therein is a lesson for St. Louis. Political and economic power, he contends, still is centered in a "very conservative corporate white male culture." Civic Progress, the organization of corporate chief executive officers that continues to carry considerable clout on major issues, goes to bat for projects that make money for them. "But to get anything that has a bigger, more ambiguous public purpose everyday amenities like vest-pocket parks, pedestrian malls, coffeehouses, places where people want to eat it's hard to get the civic elite on board, because they don't see how they make money."
That's why Judd gives high marks to the proposed Downtown Development Action Plan, a Harmon-administration initiative. Judd says the plan appears to provide the "connective tissue" that will tie the city's multimillion-dollar investments together and make the central city a place where tourists will visit and return. The plan calls for new housing, additional parking, pedestrian promenades and a new attraction along the Gateway Mall.
Judd cautions that cities that succeed tend to "have a participatory civic culture" that invites citizens' groups and neighborhood organizations into the planning process. A city, after all, "depends on the efforts of ordinary people," Judd says.
Dennis Judd discusses urban tourism and his new book, The Tourist City, at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9.
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