Author Archive | James Warden

Wyoming is Asking the Right Questions About Job Creation

It’s no longer news that business incentive programs are controversial. A landmark New York Times investigation back in 2012 found that state and local governments gave up more than $80 billion each year to companies. Further back but closer to home, a 2008 report from Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor concluded that the now-defunct […]

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Placemaking and Animal People: Why “Night in the Woods” Rocks

Night in the Woods is a video game about an anthropomorphic cat. It’s also one of the most insightful explorations of the challenges struggling communities face today — and the hidden strengths that bring those communities together. Night in the Woods tells the story of a college dropout named Mae who returns to her hometown […]

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Minnesota State Capitol

Forget Big Dreams – What Would You Settle For?

In case you missed it, there was a bit of a civil war on streets.mn last legislative session following dueling columns about the 2015 transportation proposal and its advocacy coalition, Move MN. Ethan Fawley, executive director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, kicked things off with a piece called “Why I Support Move MN.” Strong Towns […]

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Minnesota Needs More Ghost Towns

Cargill may be headquartered in Minnesota now, but it got its start 150 years ago in a small Iowa town. Conover was one of many prairie communities that sprang up as the railroads ventured westward. It was sketched out in 1864 as the McGregor Western Railroad moved into the area and incorporated in 1866. The town […]

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Would You Pay $876 to Cut 6 Minutes Off Your Commute?

There were some mighty big numbers in the annual Urban Mobility Scorecard that the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and data company Inrix released Wednesday. Twin Cities residents, the study found, spent an average of 47 hours in 2014 stuck in rush hour congestion. That put us at 23rd among the 101 ranked metros. Washington, D.C., led […]

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How Amy Schumer Taught Judd Apatow to Love Cities

I’m a huge fan of Judd Apatow – from his TV show Freaks and Geeks to films like 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I’m at least as big of a fan of Amy Schumer’s comedy. So I was excited beyond measure to see that they were teaming up to create Trainwreck. The movie, which did […]

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Show, Don’t Tell: “The Artery” in Hopkins

It’s mid-July, and that means one thing in Hopkins: Raspberry Festival. This year, though, officials kicked off the city’s biggest week with a little tactical urbanism. The city closed Eighth Avenue to cars Saturday and set up temporary features that gave people a taste of what the street’s future could look like. Eighth Avenue is […]

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Analyzing Maps Shows How Traditional Development Makes the Most of Limited Land

Expensive is not the same as valuable – particularly when it comes to cities. Big price tags on large properties offer the alluring promise of boosted tax revenue for both taxpayers and city officials. Yet our cities’ tax system is based on both the value of the buildings and the value of the land. As […]

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Whose Roads? Not Yours!

A federal judge’s decision on a Wisconsin road project has shined a spotlight on the distorted ways people view “their” roads. On May 22, the U.S. Eastern District Court ruled that WisDOT didn’t adequately explain traffic projections or account for updated demographic data when deciding to expand Highway 23 to four lanes between Fond du […]

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Obstacles to Accessing Bloomington’s Trails

This weekend, I awoke early to grab some time-lapse sunrise photos on the Minnesota River banks across from the Port Cargill-West Elevator. I hiked the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail to a nice clearing then let my cameras click away as I listened to ducks quack and watched a beaver and muskrat paddle around. The morning […]

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