The Gateway Arch, dedicated to American westward expansion, is the tallest monument in the United States. Architect Eero Sarinen envisioned the arch as a modern extension of the landscape, rising from the bank of the Mississippi River to frame the rest of St. Louis and, symbolically, the western United States. Perhaps more importantly, planners saw the project as a way to revitalize and “beautify” St. Louis. As with many other urban renewal projects, constructors bulldozed hundreds of old buildings, erased the original city grid, and displaced thousands of residents, leading to local opposition. Today, the arch is an architectural icon and a tourist attraction, but it hasn’t led to a real revitalization of the city.
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