Best Bureaucrat

Rollin Stanley

When Rollin Stanley was appointed executive director of the St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency in May 2002, local planners and academics were shocked. How could Stanley, a man with an international reputation as a progressive urbanist, land in the Lou, a place where city planning the past five decades seems to have boiled down to on which side of the McDonald's to put the drive-thru? Who would leave the city planner's post in Toronto, one of North America's most cosmopolitan cities, to head to one of the continent's most planning-challenged metropoli? Many questions, yes, and Stanley has begun answering them. He's putting the finishing touches on the first comprehensive land-use plan that St. Louis has seen in 57 years. When complete, it will be the blueprint for all future St. Louis development. To hear him talk is inspiring. "Planning is much more fun here," Stanley says, "because you actually get to create. You actually get to work with people who want to do things in areas where things haven't happened in a while -- and it really is truly fascinating." Now if only that enthusiasm could infect the rest of city hall....
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