For the month of May, Hold That Thought is diving into the archives to bring you some favorite past episodes. "Last House Standing" was first aired in April 2013 as part of our Cities series.
Between 1950 and 2000, some 60% of the built environment in St. Louis's Old North neighborhood was demolished, and the majority of its residents left the area. Abandoned buildings have fallen into disrepair, but should they remain standing? If the last houses on a block are torn down, leaving empty, litter-filled lots, how can we expect these neighborhoods to repopulate and rebuild? Michael Allen, director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, describes the ambiguous role of historic preservation in neighborhoods like Old North, and challenges us to see declining urban landscapes both for what they are and what they might become.