Stroke Sidelines Urban Planning Commando/Blogger Steve Patterson

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Steve Patterson, a prolific urban-planning blogger, is recovering from a stroke. Patterson, who's 40 years old, suffered the stroke while at home in his Locust Street loft on February 1. He didn't make it to the hospital until fourteen hours later; a friend who'd been trying to reach him suspected something was wrong when he didn't return her calls and let herself into his apartment.

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Despite the circumstances, Patterson emerged from the stroke with his ever-opinionated mind intact, says friend Dustin Bopp. "It's my opinion, he has 100 percent of his cognitive function," Bopp says. "We've never been given anything other than the optimistic outlook," he adds.

After three weeks in intensive care at SLU Hospital, Patterson moves this weekend to a rehabilitation facility. A rotund man, Patterson in the past year has admonished himself to bike, rather than scooter, around town. He's certainly weak, Bopp says, but "there won't be much keeping him down."

In the meantime, Bopp, an architect, is soliciting guest entries for the blog Urban Review STL. Patterson, a realtor, writes with such verve about curb cuts and chain restaurants -- and their effect on the vitality of St. Louis neighborhoods -- that he has attracted a following of equally passionate professionals, as well as those of us who just live here. Riverfront Times recognized Urban Review STL as Best Civic-Minded Blog in 2005 and Patterson as Best Gadfly in 2006.

Coincidentally, one of Patterson's most recent entries was an update on a hot topic from 2006, the fate of a drive-through McDonald's at Grand and Chippewa. Facing major opposition (spearheaded by Patterson), the people who wanted to relocate the restaurant pulled out, and now a payday-loan company is thinking about moving in. Patterson's January 31 blog entry sparked a 58-comment debate about whether the city should try to counter the market forces at work.

-Kathleen McLaughlin

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