urban development

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo.,  has seen a lot of development in the last few decades — downtown has a new entertainment district, a new arena and performing arts center, and the Crossroads has flourished with boutiques, restaurants, art studios and businesses.

But as the rest of Kansas City grows, the east side remains plagued by crumbling and abandoned homes, crime, and lack of access to grocery and retail.

In the 1990s, Kevin Fox Gotham began researching Race, Real Estate and Uneven Development: The Kansas City Experience, 1900-2000. The book's premise is that housing patterns isolating impoverished, minority populations in city centers don't naturally result from free market pressures; institutional policies contribute, and the desires the free market satisfies originate somewhere. After the subprime mortgage crisis of recent years, Gotham decided to publish a second edition.

Gov. Sam Brownback says he'll propose a plan to attract people to some urban areas of Kansas that are in decline.

The governor released few details on the so-called Urban Opportunity Zones, but he says they will likely include parts of Sedgwick, Wyandotte and Shawnee Counties. Brownback says the plan may include tax incentives to attract professionals from out-of-state to the areas.

"So it's getting individuals with — a lot of times — with some education, educated individuals, moving into an area and we hope creating growth," says Brownback.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new push for residential development in Kansas City's West Bottoms has some strong support and strong opposition.

Rancher and real estate developer Bill Haw started construction on a new apartment building at 1515 Genessee St., in July. The goal for the 11 unit complex is to draw families into the West Bottoms.

"There haven't been many families with young children moving back to the central core," Haw said. "I think that's an essential part of the transition to rebuilding the core of the city."

Cara McClain / KCUR

Blanche Thomas wants neighbors. She has been living in the Ivanhoe neighborhood at 34th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., since 1956.

Back then, there was a grocery store and dry cleaners across the street. Houses stood on either side of hers. But now, the block looks different.

“It has changed 100 percent because in the block that I live in there are no houses,” Thomas says. “There are no people living on my block, only my son and I.”

The two apartment buildings across the street stand empty. Thomas bought the two lots on either side of her house.

Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011 / KCUR

It's been three years since the Google Street View camera made its way through the streets of the Blue Hills neighborhood between Prospect Avenue and Paseo Boulevard, and 47th and 63rd Streets.

In that time, as the community has tried to shake the stigma of being filled with blighted homes, the community has seen a lot of visible changes. (See how Blue Hills has been trying to change its reputation.)

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Kansas City has a reputation for being one of the most affordable cities in the country to buy a home, and as the metro emerges from the recession, some of the most affordable neighborhoods are trying to draw in buyers.

Mike Calasnic / Creative Commons, Flickr

Shopping malls across the city and across the nation are closing their doors or re-imagining their futures. With the recent closure of Metro North and a meeting called to gather community input on redevelopment possibilities for Metcalf South, Central Standard convened local experts to look back on the significance of the shopping mall, in our city and in our lives. 

How do we define ourselves, Kansas City? Are we a community made of rich and poor, black and white? Are we defined and divided by the languages we speak at home? Do neighborhoods, suburbs or rural communities signify who we are?

On today's Central Standard, we’ll explore the ways our communities have changed and are changing. Also, we'll talk about the lines that separate and unite us as the beginning of a longer conversation between KCUR and the greater Kansas City about borders and boundaries.

Guests:

The New American City

Dec 3, 2012
ZTW1 / flickr

We're live from the Kauffman Center at the CityAge, New American City Conference as part of a double bill featuring Central Standard and Up To Date.


Main Street Kansas City

Apr 24, 2012

During our last presidential election, there was a lot of talk about Main Street vs. Wall Street. But here in Kansas City, our Main Street is home to big-business and to small-businesses, to restaurants and to empty storefronts, to innovative theaters and payday lending shops.

The community development corporation Blue Hills Community Services has been working to rebuild the Blue Hills neighborhood for the past 38 years.  And they've just begun construction on their latest project:  a $3 million energy-efficient renovation of a building at 50th and Prospect.