Author: Alex Schieferdecker

Alex Schieferdecker

About Alex Schieferdecker

Alex Schieferdecker is from New York City, lived in Minnesota for six years, and now lives in Philadelphia. He is still unhealthily invested in Twin Cities politics and development. Please help. His twitter handle is @alexschief.

Assessing the Legacy of Minneapolis’s Progressive Urbanist City Council

The 2021 general election is over. All across the country it was a deeply divisive and angry campaign and the results reflected that dismal process. In Minneapolis, it was no different. It was a bad time to be earnest about the future. The cynics won in a rout. Among the losses were four councilmembers, Cam […]

Minneapolis skyline in fog, black and white

Five Takeaways From Ten Years Of Minneapolis Planning Commission Approvals

Yesterday, I shared five takeaways from forty-one years of housing starts data in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region. This data, collected from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, can be useful to get a look at how much housing is being built across a range of geographies, down to the municipality level. But […]

Minneapolis skyline in fog, black and white

Five Takeaways from 41 Years of Twin Cities Housing Development

Everybody knows the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) metropolitan area is building new housing. It’s been evident for years in the disappearing parking lots of the Mill District and the North Loop, the new windows on old Lowertown warehouses, and the profusion of mid-rises that increasingly characterize Uptown and Dinkytown. But almost nobody has the free time […]

Preserve The Future, Not Just The Past

Because I have a lot of important things to fill my time, I recently tuned in to a meeting of the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. There was just one item on the agenda: the proposed demolition of a low-slung downtown office building at 17 N Washington Avenue, which would then be replaced by a 27 […]

What MnDOT Can Learn from Main Street

By one count, there are over 7,600 streets named “Main Street” in the United States. But there is only one that became the title of Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis’ 1920 classic “Main Street”, and that’s the one in Sauk Centre, MN (alias “Gopher Prairie”), the writer’s hometown. Main Street—the novel—is about a progressive and […]

A Transit Planning Order of Operations

On Monday, August 3rd, the Metropolitan Council and a coalition of groups supporting the METRO Blue Line Extension (also known as Bottineau LRT) made a major announcement. After years of fruitless negotiations with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad over an agreement to run light-rail trains in their right-of-way, the public partners announced that […]

Minneapolis Redlining

“Urban Progressivism” Didn’t Cause The Racial Housing Gap, Racism Did

Since the murder of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed, the Star Tribune has been publishing a series of editorials reflecting and commenting on the proposals that have emerged to address the issues of police violence and the racist system that underpins and fuels it. Unfortunately, before retroactively seeking out and publishing the […]

Prospectpark Small

What Happens When You Build Things Near Transit? An Unsurprising Case Study

A few weeks ago, I spoke to an older couple who, over the course of our conversation, mentioned that they had both attended the University of Minnesota. I am not a Gopher alum, but I did live near to the campus for a couple of years, on a little stub of 4th Street SE near […]

Minneapolis’ North Loop Viaducts Offer A Unique Opportunity

Some weeks ago, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat and a team of architects unveiled a bold and expensive new idea for Minneapolis’ Mississippi riverfront. The plan received a warm reception from Chamber of Commerce and Editorial Board types, but a more lukewarm response among the two groups of people whose opinions I most often seek: […]