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Community development expert to address inequity in suburban St. Louis in Oct. 8 lecture at Iowa State

October 01, 2014



AMES, Iowa — As the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., fades from national media coverage, a University of Missouri professor will provide perspective into issues of suburban poverty, politics and planning in a lecture Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Iowa State University.

Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will present "The Ferguson Moment: Poverty, Politics and Planning in the Suburbs of St. Louis" at 5:30 p.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design.

In his talk, Swanstrom will document trends in economic and racial segregation in suburban St. Louis County, then examine the fragmented and often under-resourced institutions in government and civil society that struggle to address inequity.

Swanstrom will focus on a comprehensive community revitalization initiative called 24:1 (one school district divided by 24 municipalities). In particular, he will describe a transit-oriented development effort at one light-rail stop in a high-poverty community, highlighting both the promise and the pitfalls of equity planning in disadvantaged, inner-ring suburbs.

A reception cosponsored by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences will precede Swanstrom’s lecture at 5 p.m. in the College of Design's Lyle E. Lightfoot Forum.

Following the lecture, the colleges' multicultural liaison officers will facilitate small-group discussions about issues of race and class. The reception, lecture and discussion are free and open to the public.

Swanstrom holds a master of arts in political science from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in politics from Princeton University. He is the author or co-author of six books, including "The Crisis of Growth Politics: Cleveland, Kucinich, and the Challenge of Urban Populism" (Temple University Press, 1988), winner of the Best Book Award by the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association; and "Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century" (University Press of Kansas, 2001, 2004, 2013), winner of the Michael Harrington Book Award by the New Political Science Section of the APSA. He is co-editor of "Justice and the American Metropolis" (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

Among more than two dozen scholarly articles are recent publications on the prospects for alliances between central cities and distressed suburbs, economic segregation among municipalities, different ways of measuring poverty, and the development of a regional greenway in St. Louis.

As part of the MacArthur Foundation's Building Resilient Regions Network, Swanstrom published research on local responses to the foreclosure epidemic and efforts to increase employment of women, minorities and low-income persons in construction. His current research focuses on "rebound" neighborhoods in older industrial cities and the challenges of comprehensive community development.

Swanstrom is using the resources of his endowed professorship to support the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, an alliance of community development nonprofit organizations working to build vibrant neighborhoods for all residents.

Part of the 2014-15 Contemporary Issues in Planning and Design Lecture Series, Swanstrom's visit is cosponsored by the Department of Community and Regional Planning and College of Design.

Jane Rongerude, Community and Regional Planning, (515) 294-5289,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,