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Title:Building inclusive neighborhoods: assessing the socio-spatial implications of transit-oriented development in St. Louis, Missouri
Author(s):Baker, Dwayne Marshall
Director of Research:Grengs, Joe
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Miraftab, Faranak
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lee, Bumsoo; Chakraborty, Arnab
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Regional Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Transit Oriented Development
Public Transit
Mixed-Method Research
Abstract:This dissertation research emphasizes achieving greater urban inclusion through transit-oriented development (TOD). In exploring St. Louis, Missouri's Delmar Loop TOD site, I specifically focus on the impact public transportation activities have on residents in neighborhoods surrounding light rail transit stations. I seek to understand if these developments indeed improve living conditions and urban inclusion for residents in areas around the station. TODs can be desirable spaces for residents, planners, and developers as they potentially enhance economic development, improve regional connectivity, increase transit ridership, among many other benefits and goals. However, this desirability of TODs may lead to the people with the most need for public transportation and improved neighborhood conditions being further marginalized. I argue that TOD activities can indeed assist in establishing non-inclusive spaces. By TOD activities, I refer to TOD plans, plan-making, plan implementation, and developments related to TOD plans. The following research questions guide this research: 1) Does gentrification and TOD related neighborhood change occur in light rail transit station neighborhoods? 2) What principles guide TOD activities? 3) What are the (overall and inclusive) TOD activities planners should undertake? 4) What overall and inclusive TOD activities occur? 5) How can planners better assist in establishing inclusive TOD neighborhoods? I answer these questions through a mixed method analysis, employing both quantitative and qualitative analyses. First, I use spatial regression analyses to explore the relationship between gentrification-related residential change and LRT stations. The results from the analyses point toward St. Louis, Missouri and the Delmar Loop TOD site specifically as a place to further examine gentrification and inclusivity. Second, I undertake a case study of the Delmar Loop utilizing interviews, observations, and document analysis to identify and analyze whether and how planners engage in inclusive TOD activities. I ultimately found that: 1) planners did not assist in establishing the Delmar Loop TOD site as an inclusive neighborhood and; 2) it is not a homogenous neighborhood where all TOD residents and spaces benefit from transit and neighborhood developments. Delmar Loop TOD activities ignored a portion of the TOD site largely occupied by minorities that most needed neighborhood improvements and increased transit access. Overall, the results of this dissertation describe the ways that planners consciously and inadvertently undertake activities that socially, spatially, and economically affect urban spaces largely occupied by minorities and the poor. Demonstrating how such planning activities unfold will show the specific, everyday ways in which blacks, minorities in general, and the poor are marginalized – contributing to the production and reproduction of U.S. urban segregation. The study of the Delmar Loop TOD site is instructive to TOD planners in general as it shows how not maintaining active leadership focusing on inclusion may possibly result in non-inclusive neighborhoods. It is also instructive to planners as it identifies how not identifying existing contextual issues may result in the marginalization of black (and minorities in general) and poor TOD residents. Both of which specifically aim to ensure that the people who need urban inclusion the most are served through projects improving transit access.
Issue Date:2016-06-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Dwayne M. Baker
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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