Archive | Land use

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The Lowry Hill Apartments: a Place Called Home

What is an apartment building? It can be a place to hang your hat. It can also be a community. The general perception is that apartments are temporary places to live; training wheels for home-ownership. But for many it’s not training wheels: it’s a home. Apartments are often the first step in independence for young […]

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The Importance of Airport-Downtown Rail Connections

Direct transit links are not only good for urban quality of life but improve regional competitiveness. They should be a no-brainer. Being able to land in a city and board a train with assurance you’ll be downtown in a fixed amount of time provides peace of mind for residents, tourists and businesspeople alike. A pleasant […]

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Delta Airlines US route map

How a Hub-and-Spoke Model Could Improve Metro Rail Transit

Airlines utilize hub-and-spoke models of route mapping. For Delta, the Twin Cities’ local dominant airline, Atlanta (ATL) is a major hub of that map, along with Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (STL) and other airports. Remember the refrain that the path to hell passes through Atlanta? Whatever your destination in the Southeast, chances are […]

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Proposed plan includes new water feature and ramps to address grade changes. Credit: MPRB

The Park Board’s Vision for Gateway Park

Recently, I met with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board District 4 Commissioner Jono Cowgill across the street from Gateway Park to chat about the current state and future of the park. Welcome to Gateway Park 🦖 Gateway Park is a plaza located at the intersection of Hennepin Ave and S 1st St and is bordered […]

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Map Monday: 494 Corridor Land Uses, 1953-76

Here’s a fun historical map showing how land use changed during the boom time heyday of the I-494 strip on the south edge of the Twin Cities. It’s from a chapter out of a book called “The Geography of Urban Transportation,” edited by Susan Hanson and Genevieve Giuliano. The chapter, by Peter O. Muller, is […]

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Minimum Parking in St. Paul

Why do we have parking minimums in the City of St. Paul? The current city ordinance is copied at the bottom of this post for reference, but it provides no justification. Parking Minimums = Control I once asked an employee from DSI (Department of Safety and Inspections) why a bar should have *more* parking space […]

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Brit Builds an ADU: Who Would Want an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Two years ago my family of three adults, a polyamorous family with my wife and husband, bought a three bedroom, two bathroom house in south Minneapolis. It’s charming and has fantastic 1940s details like coved ceilings, stucco exterior, and a smallish footprint at about 1600 sq ft. I work from home full-time and we have […]

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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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Map Monday (Bonus): All The Buildings in Minnesota (and elsewhere) Mapped

This is a very cool map from the NY Times that reminds me of the famous Nolli map of Rome. It shows all the buildings in the state on a simple black-and-white scale. What fun to play around with! Here are a few views of Minnesota at different scales: Closer up to Mankato… Closer up […]

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