Map Monday: Cutting Board Neighborhoods of Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Via Scott Shaffer’s Twitter feed, here’s a wooden map for you. It’s a cutting board available for sale under the “Totally Bamboo” brand, that features the different neighborhoods of Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Here’s the map, followed by some cutting remarks:

OK, so… Minneapolis famously has way too many neighborhoods. Over 80, at last count, and this cutting board does seem to get them all correctly identified and labeled. A tip of the cap to the Totally Bamboo company, which is definitely not local, and which makes these for different geographic scales and sells them all over the US.

Their map of Saint Paul, on the other hand, is very poor, and includes neighborhood demarcations and terminology that does not in any way exist.

For example, the West Side is laughably wrong. There are neither  neighborhoods called “Baker-Annapolis” nor “Concord-Robert” on the West Side. The former would simply be called “Cherokee Bluffs” or something to that effect. Latter would be either the “West Side Flats” or (simply) “the Flats” and the “district Del Sol” to demarcate the changed name of Concord Street, now known as Cesar Chavez.

Somehow, Highland is simply missing, effaced by the Minneapolis skyline (or a Ford site plan rendering). And Railroad Island is gerrymandered up into neighboring districts.

Meanwhile, the North End is absent, and nobody other than a Google mapping algorithm would ever refer to the “North of Maryland” or “South of Maryland” neighborhoods. (Ugh! The only thing north of Maryland is the Maxon-Dixon line.)

The takeaway? If purchasing Christmas presents at your neighborhood hardware store or co-op, do not give this cutting board to anyone with any working knowledge of Saint Paul. It will offend them.

11 thoughts on “Map Monday: Cutting Board Neighborhoods of Minneapolis and Saint Paul

  1. Max HailperinMax Hailperin

    I could find a couple nits to pick on the Minneapolis side. The map seems to predate the division of Phillips (like Gaul) into three parts: East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, and Phillips West. It also shows a distinction between North Loop and Warehouse District that so far as I know is not officially recognized. However, you are right that the Minneapolis part is in comparatively good shape. I’d say this demonstrates that Minneapolis has a more effective bureaucracy for imposing a well-established, if somewhat fictitious, order upon its neighborhoods, whereas St. Paul has been more laissez faire, with the government bureaucrats contenting themselves with establishing the “districts” (analogous to Minneapolis’s “communities”) and allowing the residents to figure out for themselves what the neighborhoods are. (Never mind that the Minneapolis residents tend to do that too.) The result is that there is no authoritative map of St. Paul neighborhoods for a cutting board maker—or anyone else—to turn to, unlike for Minneapolis.

  2. Max HailperinMax Hailperin

    Hmm, looking closer I’ve found several more deviations from the official bureaucratic version of Minneapolis, so I guess my theory that they would just use that map doesn’t hold water; they’ve got some hybrid between the folk-neighborhoods and the official ones.

    1. Max HailperinMax Hailperin

      That *is* a strange one. Whoever did this cutting board seems to have renamed it for its hierarchically superior “community.” I can’t think of any reasonably systematic process that would produce that result.

  3. Bob Roscoe

    What are all those hamlets east of White Bear Lake Av beyond Hillcrest?

    I feel sorry for the fine folks in Highland who must be indignant that shows they count for nothing. I couldn’t rely on that board to find my favorite Punch Pizza in Highland that is obscured by the Wells Fargo tower in Minneapolis’s skyline view.

    I’ll mention to Max Halprin that Saint Paul’s fiefdom laissez faire portrayal is accurate to what Minneapolis people perceive of Saint Paul.

    1. Max HailperinMax Hailperin

      I’m sensitive enough to nuance to recognize that praising my accuracy with regard to Minneapolitans’ perceptions of St. Paul is a way of suggesting that I was less than accurate with regard to the reality of St. Paul. So … with all due apologies for not having asked these questions in the first place, I’ll ask them now. Does St. Paul have an official, bureaucratically established subdivision into neighborhoods more fine-grained than the districts? If so, where would I find it documented? Thanks.

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