Document Type



Master of Arts


Political Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Todd Swanstrom


Dr. David Kimball


Dr. Todd Swanstrom

Dr. David Kimball

Dr. Adriano Udani


Megaprojects are unique capital improvements that are defined by their large-scale development plans and construction budgets. Industrial Belt cities, like St. Louis, are no stranger to these projects, and both government actors and private developers have walked hand in hand in planning and constructing megaprojects, while assuring the general public that the benefits would always outweigh the costs. Though there has been considerable quantitative research analyzing the statistical economic effects of various megaprojects, there has been relatively little discussion on other, specifically, qualitative means of analysis. This paper will examine the role civic dialogue has on the perceived and real successes of megaprojects in the St. Louis region and compare the reactions of the public to the promises made by developers. This study consults a mix of investigative and news reports along with primary source public forums and interviews to amalgamate an interpretation on whether specific St. Louis megaprojects are qualitatively successful. Finally, this paper observes that an outmoded “leap of faith” mentality, similar to that used during the golden age of megaprojects throughout the mid-1900s, is still used by St. Louis developers to sell the project to the public. It is important for both developers and the public to better understand the impact megaprojects have had on St. Louis’ history and how to plan their future execution in a way that secures both the goals of the developers and needs of the public.