The city of St. Louis has suffered tremendous population loss since the 1950s, and is currently a major shrinking city in America. This sustained population loss and its accompanying economic decline has led to many negative effects, including crime, food deserts and property abandonment. Eco-urbanism, which advocates a shift from conventional planning goals of economic and population growth to environmental sustainability and increased quality of life, holds promise for the city of St. Louis, where opportunities for implementing eco-urbanism strategies are more plentiful due to the abundance of vacant land.

This paper examines the current role eco-urbanism plays in St. Louis City through the examination of three eco-urbanism strategies that can be found within the city: community gardens, greenways and urban forests. It reviews the ways in which these strategies have been employed, as well as experienced and possible benefits of these strategies. Social benefits include: increased health, comingling across socioeconomic groups, food security, increased accessibility, and recreation opportunities. Ecological benefits include: increased biodiversity, better water management, decreasing pollution and heat island effect, and the protection and conservation of ecosystems and landscapes. Economic benefits include: development and increased property values. The paper also suggests ways to take the movement further - through adoption of not just its strategies but its ideology by the municipal government, as well as through improving its implementation by having a cohesive strategy, using a flexible approach, and fostering a culture that is enthusiastic towards eco-urbanism.



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