Interchange 12

Hidden Priorities, in Plain Sight

A friend compiled this series of Google Earth images. I scanned them, and intended to get on with my work, but I just couldn’t. I went through them again. And then again. I found myself rethinking the city I live in.

Most people think Minneapolis looks like this:

Downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis

Or this:

Minneapolis Neighborhood with 4plexes

Minneapolis Neighborhood

But, when you step back, you actually see this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I scrolled again and again, I asked myself:

  • What does our choice to build and maintain this in the heart of Minneapolis this say about our values?
  • What would it take to reclaim this land, land that in the past housed and employed people and paid property taxes, for people-supporting uses?
  • How many billions of public dollars did we use to build these massive monuments?
  • Who uses these spaces? Who was displaced to create these spaces?
  • If we were willing to allocate this much space (and money, and concrete, and structural steel) to drivers of cars, what will we be willing to allocate to making biking and walking for transportation more inviting & practical & safe?
  • What would be possible in Minneapolis if we reclaimed five percent of this land for people who live here? Ten percent?
  • When Minneapolis 2040 says it will “Restore and maintain the traditional street grid,” just how seriously should (may) we take that statement?

What questions does it raise for you?


About Janne Flisrand

Janne Flisrand spends her time thinking about how people interact with the space around them. Why do they (or don't they) walk or bike or shop somewhere? How do spaces feel? Why do people sit here and not there? Why bus instead of bike, bike instead of drive? What sorts of spaces build community, and what sorts kill it? Can spaces build civic trust and engagement?

Articles Near This Location