Housing

  1. Three Areas - Three Programs
  2. Obsolete Areas
  3. Blighted Districts
  4. New Residence Areas

Blighted Districts

The blighted districts should be extensively rehabilitated before they degenerate into obsolete areas. This is both a social need and an economic essential because of high rates of juvenile delinquency, crime, and disease found in areas of poor housing.

Rehabilitation of blighted districts must be undertaken on a neighborhood basis also in order to protect environment and to create improved living standards. Because of the larger areas involved, special planning and experimentation is required. Obsolete buildings should be removed, some streets should be closed, new park, playground and recreation areas created, small concentrated shop areas established, and individual buildings should be repaired and brought up to a good minimum standard. The new Constitution of Missouri specifically provides for this type of rehabilitation. There is fully as much opportunity for private enterprise in this field as in the more spectacular large scale reconstruction housing projects.

The most important single requisite for the improvement of housing in St. Louis is the enactment of a Minimum Standards Housing Ordinance. The City Plan Commission, the Building Commissioner and the Health Department with the aid and assistance of the American Public Health Association, have collaborated in the preparation of such an ordinance which provides for:

  1. Elimination of overcrowding by prescribing minimum standards of space per family and per person.
  2. The number, area, and openness of windows permitting entrance of fresh air and natural light.
  3. Screens on doors and windows to restrict flies and mosquitoes.
  4. Elimination of basement rooms as dwelling units unless they comply with the provisions set forth in the ordinance.
  5. Improvement of sanitary conditions by elimination of hopper water closets and privies in sewered areas within six years of effective date of ordinance.
  6. The location of water closets and the number of persons using them.
  7. Keeping dwelling units in a clean, sanitary, habitable condition and free from infestation.
  8. Maintenance and repair of dwellings necessary to provide tightness to the weather and reasonable possibilities of heating.
  9. Installation of flues which would permit the operation of heating equipment to maintain adequate temperature in each habitable room.
  10. Adequate daylight or fixtures for artificial illumination in public halls bath rooms and other habitable rooms.

Unless and until such an ordinance has been adopted and enforced, most housing areas in St. Louis will continue to deteriorate and blighted districts and obsolete areas will reach much greater proportions than at present.

The rehabilitation of blighted areas is the No Man's Land of housing. It is more important than reconstruction of obsolete areas. It is a field that has been completely neglected partly because it is less spectacular than large scale reconstruction and partly because the opportunities for profitable investment are presumably less than in a new development. Without a definite plan for the rehabilitation of the present blighted areas new obsolete areas will develop faster than present areas can be reconstructed. Plate Number 17 illustrates the manner in which neighborhood rehabilitation should be undertaken.

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