Podcast #121: Activating Nicollet Avenue with Lisa Middag


An activation event on Nicollet.

Today I’m bringing you a conversation with Lisa Middag, the director of Nicollet Activation for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District. What does Nicollet activation” mean? I’m glad you asked. You’ll find out all about it in just a second, but it’s the person who is charged with bringing street life and economic activity to Nicollet Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis. You might be familiar with Nicollet, which is not only Minneapolis’ #1 shopping street, but was also remodeled at great expense a year or so ago.

(Here’s a hint: It’s the street formerly known as Nicollet Mall.)

Lisa Middag has been spending lots of time trying to ring activity to the new Nicollet and has been using a whole bunch of art, vitality, placemaking, and other tactics to do this. We sat down a few weeks ago on a nice day in downtown Minneapolis to talk about her work, and about what makes a downtown a great place, how that works in a place like Minneapolis that has a few structural challenges, and what the future might hold for downtown Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy the conversation.


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Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.