Archive | Culture

I went to Korea and all I got was a Fuller Understanding of Successful Transit Systems

I just got back from Seoul, South Korea. I had a great time thanks for asking. Seoul is arguably the biggest, densest city in the world. Seoul and its closest neighboring city, Inchon, have grown into each other blurring the lines where one metro ends and another begins, so much so that their independent subway […]

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Real Public Engagement

In a recent post, Jason Brisson highlights the conflict between “top-down” planning, where experts provide the direction for a project, and “bottom-up” planning, where community members drive (ha, ha, drive, get it?) the project. I do not think this is an either/or issue where technocrats tell a community what it needs versus a community, no […]

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Front porch with two red chairs

My Front Porch and Why I Love It – Volume 1

A front porch wasn’t necessarily on the “must have” list for our house when we were shopping in 2015. But, as we looked into housing, it moved further and further up the list. The house we bought has a full length porch on the front. It is long and it is DEEP. It’s about 12 […]

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The Annual MayDay Parade

Every year, more than 50,000 people are drawn to the Powderhorn neighborhood in south Minneapolis to participate in the festivities of the MayDay Parade. This is not your typical parade — the mission statement of the event is “to bring people together for the common good through the power of puppet and mask performance.” The event uses […]

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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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The Case Against “Neighborhood Character”

If you are involved in your community’s discussions about roads, development, or zoning, you have undoubtedly heard one of the most ubiquitous and troubling phrases to populate those discussions: “neighborhood character.” To me, “neighborhood character” is a nothing phrase.  It is a flowery facade to hide ugly or undeveloped opinions behind.  When I say that […]

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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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Civic Pride and Outdoor Football!

“Outdoor football!” was my exclamation upon exiting the Metro Transit Green Line train last Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. When I saw the forecast last week for the possibility of subzero temperatures on Sunday, I knew I had to attend what appeared to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was two years old the last time the Minnesota Vikings played […]

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The Crank’s Cartoon Shout-outs

I am hereby naming this column “The Crank.” That’s because I’m cranky, I like bicycles, and a crank is the part of a bicycle that makes it move. With this in mind, I’d like to offer the following cartoon shout-outs. This one goes out to the Mall of America and “American Boulevard” in Bloomington:   In […]

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A Camino De Minnesota?

In some ways, Christianity and other faiths created the concept of tourism. They created sacred sites and encouraged their followers to make pilgrimage trips to visit them. This created the need for food, lodging, souvenirs, and various other goods and services that form the backbone of modern tourism. My wife recently got a small grant […]

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