Category: Land Use

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Is It Time To Look Past the Missing Middle?

In the “before-times”, housing advocates in Minneapolis worked with a progressive city council to pass the 2040 Plan. The New York Times proclaimed, “Minneapolis, Tackling Housing Crisis and Inequity, Votes to End Single-Family Zoning”. These were all great achievements, and it is clear that 2040, inclusionary zoning, and other reforms and investments have made real […]

Stitching Together Duluth’s Downtown and Waterfront – Part One

The Duluth Waterfront Collective is a group of planners, designers, thinkers and more, united in our desire to create a more livable, equitable and sustainable Duluth. Our plan, entitled Highway 61 Revisited, takes an eraser to a one-mile stretch of Interstate 35 and will use a community engagement process to draw in the blank space […]

Why Minneapolis needs a Land Value Tax

This image shows a mostly undeveloped parking lot, occupying a full block of prime real estate in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Why does this lot remain underdeveloped? The owner of the land could increase their income drastically if they developed the land to its fullest potential. Additionally, the city as a whole would gain […]

Drive-Thrus are Bad for Cities and Saint Paul Should Stop Permitting Them

Earlier this month, the Saint Paul Planning Commission approved another drive-thru in the urban core, confirming a conditional use permit (CUP) for a 1,800-square-foot, one-story Taco Bell restaurant on a 16,500-square-foot lot with the vast majority of the remaining land used for parking and a drive-thru lane. The location is just over 1,000 feet from […]

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Stillwater’s Parking Ramp Problems

This is Part Four in a loosely-related series of the evolution of retail and parking issues. Part One covered the alleged dislike of people for parking ramps and why it’s causing problems for the Shops of West End. Part Two covered the evolution of regional retail from downtown to lifestyle centers. Part Three compared several […]

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National Links: A NIMBY Win North of Dallas

Every day at The Overhead Wire we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list. At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. […]

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Are New Buildings Ugly or Beautiful?

I had a spicy Twitter exchange the other day with Max Nesterak, who has been doing great work at his new website, the MN Reformer. The question he posed rekindled some long-simmering thoughts I’ve been having about the eternal question “are new buildings bad?” Here’s the tweet: Who’s going to write an op-ed for @MNReformer […]

Alley east of 27th Avenue South in July 2020

The Lake/Minnehaha Rebuild Is an Opportunity to Redefine Our Alleys

Following the reprehensible conduct of police in the treatment and death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, peaceful protests became agitated by subsequent aggression and retaliation by police in riot gear. Some strayed from the initial focus of the peaceful protestors upon the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct building, setting fire to neighborhood buildings […]

New Housing Lowers Rents in Minneapolis; St. Paul, Not So Much

There’s an ongoing and tedious debate about whether or not building new market-rate apartment housing helps or hurts affordability in US cities. The argument is tedious not because it’s an uninteresting question, but because nothing seems to change. “You can’t build your way out of a housing crisis,” on one hand; “we have a housing […]

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Thoughts on SimCity

I’ve spent a lot of my life playing SimCity (and Cities: Skylines, which I’ve called “The SimCity we deserve”). I’ve always liked simulation games, where I have a sandbox in which to tinker, and can make something of my own. Even when relaxing, I still have the creative urge. Now, as I look around at […]