Archive | Neighborhoods

In Defense of “Unlustrous” Bloomington

Recently the StarTribune ran an article about how “Bloomington Has Lost its Luster“. The article makes the following points:  The housing stock is aging, the schools aren’t that great, and young people prefer the city. As a longtime resident of Bloomington, I feel it’s my duty to respond.  Some of my points I’ve made before in other articles, but […]

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Chart of the Day: Perceived Disorder vs Ethnicity

A while back, while reading Daniel Hertz’s recent article about Chicago in City Observatory, I came across the work of Robert Sampson, an urban social psychologist at Harvard. The work is over a decade old, but I still find it compelling and relevant. Sampson’s basic thesis is that perceptions of disorder, i.e. a chaotic or blighted neighborhood, […]

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Growing Selby Avenue Between Lexington and Snelling

  Selby Avenue in Saint Paul is known for the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, with its restaurants and mix of businesses, flats, and houses centered around Western Ave. Down the street west of Lexington, Selby is quieter, but it’s the backbone of the Lexington-Hamline neighborhood. Back in the streetcar days, this was an ideal suburban neighborhood, […]

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Painted Ladies, a Maiden and Bruce

July 17, 2015         18.1 Miles            Summit – University, Downtown, Lowertown   Victorian-era homes with narrow clapboard siding, bold colors, a variety of ornamentation and towers are often called ‘Painted Ladies.’ In researching this ride I learned there’s a bit more to it than that. Painted Ladies refer specifically to Queen Anne-style houses that are painted […]

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A History of Downzoning

The year is 1995. A landlord is renovating his triplex when a concerned neighbor appeals to the neighborhood association for help. The organization comes to the rescue, deciding¹ that “because the building has been vacant for over a year, the nonconforming use expires and the building should revert to a duplex.” The neighborhood was Lowry […]

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The Diminutive and the Colossal

July 11, 2015      12.05 miles      Highland Park, Summit-University (Summit Hill) The small house movement caught on in the late 1990s. It’s easy to understand, with the dramatic rise in housing prices. Even so, there’s been a steady surge in home size with the average U.S. home growing from 2,521 square feet in 2007 to about […]

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Hidden, but Not Really

June 26, 2015 19.96 miles (but I’m saying 20 miles) Macalester-Groveland, Summit-University, St. Anthony Park, Hamline-Midway When you mention Summit Avenue, most people think of the eastern part of the Avenue, home to the mansions built for industrialists like the Hills, Weyerhaeusers, and Ordways. Summit became the place favored to live by Saint Paul’s most […]

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