Archive | Land Use

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Violets1

Dress Your Area with Violets

In our yard we are letting violets cover the ground. They have green heart-shaped leaves, and are an early flowering thing. I think this spring was the best year we’ve had with the violets so far. For a few weeks I was fascinated every time I walked by them. I can put my hand in […]

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The City That Eats Together: A Climate Committee Tree Planting Event

Editor’s note: Julia wrote this piece prior to the killing of George Floyd and subsequent unrest. The last few days have again revealed the structural inequality that persists in our cities. These gaps come in many forms, including in access to food. As grocery stories have been destroyed or shuttered throughout many parts of the […]

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What Happens When You Build Things Near Transit? An Unsurprising Case Study

A few weeks ago, I spoke to an older couple who, over the course of our conversation, mentioned that they had both attended the University of Minnesota. I am not a Gopher alum, but I did live near to the campus for a couple of years, on a little stub of 4th Street SE near […]

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From Shopping Malls to Lifestyle Centers

On why structured parking is allegedly problematic for regional retail in general, which is causing problems at West End.  This installment will look at the overall evolution of regional retail – from downtown, to the regional malls, to lifestyle centers like West End.  Downtown 2.0: The Mall With the massive movement of people to the […]

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Introducing: Minneapolis Stay Healthy Streets!

Effective April 29, the City of Minneapolis will begin creating “Stay Healthy Streets” in the 3 geographical areas of the City (North, South, Northeast). From the Minneapolis Website: Streets on these routes will generally be closed to thru car traffic but remain open for local resident access. On-street parking will generally be retained; some connection […]

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Want Equitable Cities? We’ll Need More Women in Transportation Planning

The majority of people who use public transit in the United States are women, yet transportation planners and engineers are predominantly men.  The underrepresentation of women in planning has created cities in which women’s needs are not met. This begs the question, what would public spaces and transportation look like if women had a greater role in […]

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