Category: Land Use

Concrete support pillars are among dozens of remains scattered throughout the Gopher Ordinance Works, a WWII munitions factory in Rosemount.

Embracing Ruins as Historic Preservation

For the most part, these sites are hidden behind railroads, below river bluffs, or at the end of gated dirt roads. We tend to either ignore or look at them as failures, awaiting either a visionary creative reuse or the wrecking ball.

Hennepin Avenue: A Parable of Road Design in America

It’s possible you’ve heard this joke before: A motorist, a pedestrian, and a bicyclist are sitting at a table that has a dozen cookies on it. The motorist grabs 11 of the cookies and when the other two are reaching for what they each assumed was their cookie, the motorist exclaims: “Watch out! The bicyclist […]

Ridgedale Center photo from the parking lot

Urban Parking, Suburban Style

I recently attended an open house put on by the City of Minneapolis to discuss two options for the upcoming reconstruction of Hennepin Ave from Douglas to Lake Street. In a sign of progress on street design in Minneapolis, both designs reduce car traffic to a single lane to promote traffic calming and to provide space […]

A green line meant to resemble a graph in Excel has been drawn on a photo of stairs on the outside of a brick building painted in large blocks of red, yellow, and blue

Build More Housing: The Big Picture

Neighborhoods are designed, slowly and constantly, by the people who live in them. We make decisions about what gets built and who gets to use it or live in it through a network of community meetings, zoning boards, and city and state governments. In the process we create something we call “housing policy”. I have […]

All Hail the Air Taxi?

The Chicago Tribune’s social media team has been pushing a story about air taxi service from downtown to O’Hare pretty hard on twitter the past several weeks. I bookmarked the tweet to read later, which means I was never, ever going to read it. Then last week, the American Planning Association tweeted out a link […]

Hennepin Avenue Hopes: Visions for a People-Centered Corridor

I’ve been daydreaming of Hennepin Avenue’s redo since its reconstruction was first announced a few years ago. Using streetmix (a free browser-based app), I created a cross-section of what I think Hennepin should look like, as a people-oriented community corridor and transit route designed as if science matters. The terrifying scientific consensus on the timeline […]

Three Ways of Looking at the Lexington and University Development Debate

At one level, all you need to know about the proposed development on Lexington Parkway, just south of University Avenue, is that it meets every rule in the St. Paul Zoning Code. That’s the point I was trying to make during the intense Planning Commission meeting ten days ago. The vote was part of a […]

Learn to Love Shared Walls

To get the sustainable, vibrant, and livable cities we say we want, we’re all going to have to learn to love shared walls. I’m in my mid 30s, and in that privileged class where many or most of my friends are in professional jobs and hitting that point in their careers where they’re looking to […]

Preserve The Future, Not Just The Past

Because I have a lot of important things to fill my time, I recently tuned in to a meeting of the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. There was just one item on the agenda: the proposed demolition of a low-slung downtown office building at 17 N Washington Avenue, which would then be replaced by a 27 […]