Archive | November, 2012

Baby steps towards a stronger regional plan

Have Metropolitan Council members been reading streets.mn?  Of course, I’d like to think so, and the draft principles and goals the Committee of Whole discussed on November 7th reflect some of the ideas you’ve seen here, and generally represent an improvement from plans of old. While it’s hard to read a lot into a goals […]

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Shipping Container Housing is a Terrible Idea

I bumped into an article on how Detroit will join some European nations and build America’s first shipping container building. It got me thinking: shipping container housing is a terrible idea. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Why? Because it’s the “same shit, different day” and “experiment on the poor” urban planning faux-avant garde-ism that […]

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Winter in the City – We Can Do Better

As November draws to a close, winter has descended on the Twin Cities with force. This means it’s time to hunker down, withdraw from the public realm and resign ourselves to scurrying between our home, car, parking garage and office – punctuated only by strolls through climate controlled malls and skyways. It doesn’t have to […]

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Monday News Digest

The Friday News Digest is a regular feature of the Strong Towns Blog. Due to the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve shifted our normal Friday recap of the news to Monday. Enjoy the week’s news. I want to take a brief moment here and recognize Gregory Jones of The Studio Stoop. His blog post on why he donated to […]

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Podcast #16 – Picking Apart the Creative Placemaking Trend with Michael Fallon

The latest podcast is a conversation with Michael Fallon, executive director of the Minneapolis Television Network and a long-time arts writer in the Twin Cities. Michael has an article in the recently released issue of Public Art Review all about creative placemaking, one of the hottest ideas in urban design and public art. We met […]

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Saying Goodbye to the “Passenger Mile”

Last week I made a terrible mistake. I accidentally clicked on a link to a radio story from APM’s Marketplace, a “freakonomics” segment that argued that transit wasn’t as environmentally efficient as its supporters would like. Quickly, my brain began to fill with intellectual pollution. Eric A. Morris, the “freakonomics” writer was basically parroting a […]

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Tree canopy and house size

I will take a controversial position: trees are good. Given the amount of needless tree destruction we see, I sometimes feel in a minority. The City recently took the elm in front of our house, diminishing our shade. It was nearing end of life, and I assume diseased or at risk of disease. They have […]

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Transit and Density are (Gasp!) Related?

If you listen to the press, bikes are all the rage and new rail transit lines are still the darlings of politicians and transportation planners. Incredibly, what is still overlooked in the mainstream press is the intricate relationship between transportation and land use. Even when it is mentioned, it is often a one-size-fits all scenario. […]

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Splitting Hairs on Unmarked Crosswalks

I’m going to split a few hairs today. I hope you’ll indulge me. Take a look at the following image of a pretty typical minor T-intersection in a 2nd ring Twin Cities suburban community. The north/south roadway is a County State-Aid Highway carrying about 10,000 vehicles per day. The east/west roadway is a small cul-de-sac […]

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Podcast #15 – Talking Golden Valley Light Rail with Paula Pentel

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Paula Pentel, coordinator of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Minnesota, and a council member in the city of Golden Valley, a first ring suburb located just West of Minneapolis. We met in Paula’s office on the West Bank Campus of the University of Minnesota to talk […]

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