1976: A massive fire strikes downtown St. Louis, destroying six buildings within three hours. The St. Louis fire storm began on April 2 when a basement fire started in an abandoned shoe factory.
A New York Times article on the event catches the eye of filmmaker John Carpenter, who decides that downtown St. Louis perfectly captures his vision of a debased, dystopian Manhattan. He goes on to shoot Escape From New York in subaltern St. Louis.
Demolition of the 30 remaining Pruitt-Igoe towers occurs.
“2021: Missouri places the City of St. Louis under an emergency management regime with an appointed manager. Mayor Jamilah Nasheed has no real power.
McKee sells the land in his Northside Regeneration project to international investors, netting a $40 million profit. The state dissolves the Land Reutilization Authority and gives Great Rivers Greenway city-county land banking powers.
West Lake Landfill removal leads to scattering of radioactive dust across Bridgeton, and State of Missouri issues evacuation order for a 100-acre area, after the state and the federal governments have refused to initiate voluntary buyouts.”
2068: St. Louis, after celebrating its tri-centennial in 2064, records a population of 328,000. St. Louis County records 850,000 residents, showing continued decline.
The Great Rivers Greenway assumes management of city parks, while beginning permitting of homestead allotments on open parcels in north city and a growing inventory of abandoned ranch houses in North County. The houses are in such bad repair that they mostly serve as targets for arsonists.
Central and south city housing price increases lead to widespread rent strikes. Artists begin operating colonies in abandoned subdivision houses in St. Charles County, which continues to attract immigrant families who can’t afford to live in the city. St. Charles County’s population reaches 510,000, and its government has never run a deficit.
Some predict the end of the anthropocene is near. Others call for a progressive electoral movement as an outlet for participation. Some think that capitalism has begun a late stage, and will soon collapse.
Text by Michael R. Allen
"Can the Working Class Speak?"
Illustration for Current Affairs, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/12/can-the-working-class-speak
Blank Space Poster
"We Live Here" illustration
Illustration for St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” podcast website.