Author Archive | Sam Newberg

Affordable Housing in Minneapolis and Beyond

The current debates over the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan and inclusionary housing raise some interesting ideas for consideration about the city and Twin Cities metro area overall. First, more housing at all levels of affordability is critical to the future of the city, not for the sake of density itself but rather the city’s ability […]

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Pianos Contribute to the Sidewalk Ballet in Downtown Minneapolis

Hands-down my favorite part of downtown Minneapolis this past summer was the pianos on Nicollet Avenue. Not necessarily a new idea, to be sure, but I was struck by the talent of seemingly random players and the joy it gave passers-by. Any given morning on my walk from the train to the office I’d pass […]

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Walk-Up Windows and Great Urban Places

If you can order a coffee from a window while standing on a sidewalk, you just might be in a great urban place. On a recent trip to Santiago, Chile, I walked out of our AirBnB and just up the sidewalk was a coffee shop with a window facing the sidewalk. The street happened to […]

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Mainstreet Hopkins - Timeless

Mainstreet Hopkins is Almost Perfect

Last week I met a colleague at Munkabeans Cafe & Coffeehouse on the beautiful Mainstreet in Hopkins, Minnesota. Of all the Main Streets in America, the Hopkins version is unique because they smash the two words together. Mainstreet. And a fine street it is, better than before, having been recently rebuilt and with some new […]

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Tough Love for Downtown Minneapolis

I took my mother to the Oak Grill in January. We needed to see the place one last time. Share one last popover. And a manhattan. I’m embarrassed to say I’d never been. So for me eating at the Oak Grill was a new experience in downtown Minneapolis. Looking around the dining room that day […]

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Simple Urbanism – Inspiration and Aspiration

As a follow-up to the critique of a recent post about the urban design of Harriet’s Inn, let’s consider the parts of the city that inspire us and the standards to which we should be aspiring. To do so, we need only look past Harriet’s Inn, as well as the gold standard for old urbanism […]

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Simple Urbanism – So Elusive

At first blush, the new Harriet’s Inn at 40th Street and Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis is a nice addition to the city and its urban fabric. Jucy Lucy’s on the menu, Polygamy on a nitro tap, kids eat free on Tuesdays, what could go wrong!? Furthermore, the building has an attractive brick facade, big […]

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Urban Design and Grocery Stores

With a grocery store proposed as part of a mixed-use development at 46th and Hiawatha (see the Planning Commission submittal to the Committee of the Whole last week for plans), it is time to review good urban standards for grocery store design. Grocery stores are complicated due to issues of customer access, parking, and truck […]

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Drinking My Way Around England

English pubs are among the premier “third places” in the world. Despite rumors of their death, they remain vital to the community and I’m impressed by how well they fit in to the urban (and rural) fabric. The English pub is a great place to gather with friends or strangers. They are also quite amenable […]

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The Commons – Some Observations

Since The Commons opened this summer, I’ve visited a few times and passed by several times, making a point of counting patrons and observing how people use this new public green downtown space. After all, how people use a new park is the best indicator of success, right? Here is a collection of observations so […]

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