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Faculty Research

Public Policy Administration Faculty Research

Todd Swanstrom, E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in 
Community Collaboration and Public Policy

My research has three pillars:

  1. Rebound Neighborhoods: My colleagues and I noted that even in a city suffering from massive urban decline, some neighborhoods were coming back. We wanted to know why some neighborhoods were succeeding when so many others were failing. To research neighborhood change we developed a data base from 1970-2015 using US Census data organized in standardized tract boundaries (small areas of 3,000 to 8,000 population). We developed an index to identify neighborhoods that were improving in a sustained fashion relative to other neighborhoods. We call these area “rebound neighborhoods.” We do not call them “gentrifying” neighborhoods even though they resemble gentrified neighborhoods in some ways. Rebound neighborhoods are experiencing an influx of young professionals. On the other hand, our rebound neighborhoods are the most racially and economically diverse areas in our sample and although there has been some out-movement of African Americans rents are still quite affordable. As part of our research we interviewed activists in five rebound neighborhoods and identified the factors that helped them rebound. My co-authored article, “Rebound Neighborhoods in Older Industrial Cities: The Case of St. Louis,” was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in 2017 ( Using this analysis, we have facilitated public meetings in about a dozen neighborhoods in St. Louis to discuss what works and what does not work in community revitalization.
  2. Middle Neighborhoods: More recently, I have become interested in researching “middle neighborhoods” – neighborhoods that are neither moving rapidly up or down. Middle neighborhoods still have functioning housing markets and valuable urban amenities but many are threatened by urban decline. Researchers and policy makers have generally ignored middle neighborhoods. This is unfortunate because they are under great stress. Under one definition, the percentage of “middle neighborhoods” in St. Louis decline from 52 percent in 1970 to only 28 percent in 2010. The middle is hollowing out – resulting in a few affluent neighborhoods and many more neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and declining population. I have begun working with a national group to conduct research on middle neighborhoods.
  3. Inner-Ring Suburban Decline: A third topic I have become interested in is the movement of poor people and urban problems to the suburbs. This is perhaps best exemplified by Ferguson, the site of massive urban protests and riots in response to a shooting of an unarmed black man in 2014. In many ways, I argue, suburban poverty is worse than urban poverty. First, fragmented suburban governments and school districts promote the sorting of the population along the lines of race and class. Segregation in suburbs corresponds not just to neighborhood boundaries but to institutional boundaries. This means that the resources and tax base are segregated, as well, making it more difficult redistribute resources and even provide basic city services. Civic organization and political mobilization are often weaker in suburbs compared to cities. In addition, unlike central cities, small suburban governments often lack the scale and administrative capacity to effectively address urban problems. My research suggests that the biggest challenge in these new spaces of suburban disadvantage is not coming up with effective policies but developing the civic capacity to implement meaningful policies. I am working on a book tentatively titled: The Ferguson Moment: Politics, Planning, and Power in the Suburbs of St. Louis.


Anne Winkler, Professor, Public Policy Administration & Economics 

The eighth edition of a book co-written by Winkler was released in July 2017. Per the publisher's website, the book, The Economics of Women, Men, and Work, Eighth Edition, is the most current and comprehensive source available for research, data, and analysis on women, gender, and economics. Blau and Winkler are widely known for their research and contributions on the study of the economics of gender. The eighth edition includes fully updated data and research, and analyzes the consequences of recent developments in the labor market for men and women. These developments include the declining gender wage gap, rising wage inequality, and the growing divide in labor market and family outcomes by educational attainment. The book’s previous publication dates are: September 2016, July 2013, August 2009.

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Winkler is also working on an NIH grant titled “Investigating the Biomedical Workforce.”