Archive | Public Realm

Downtown Needs Bathrooms

Everyone needs to pee. This is an observation so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be stated. Yet it seems it’s not an observation that has made its way into our urban planning. It’s really a simple equation. People need to pee – no public bathrooms = peeing in public (or worse). Much of the […]

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Pedestrianizing Big Box Stores – Midway Super Target

Like many parts of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Midway in Saint Paul is a slightly strange hybrid between urban and suburban built forms.  Houses and apartments on narrow lots and streetcar-era retail buildings with zero setbacks coexist (oftentimes uneasily) with suburban-style big-box stores that have giant parking lots.  The Green Line provides frequent transit service to places that have […]

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Street Connections

How important are connections between inside and out? Panino’s, a place my wife and I enjoy eating at fairly often, recently expanded into the space next door. The original space was kind of a quirky collection of areas but it worked and felt comfortable. Unfortunately the new space is a giant windowless sterile echo chamber […]

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Detroit Still Exists

I spent a few days last month in downtown Detroit at CNU 24. CNU is smart enough to host their annual “congress” in and around the city. We spent not a single moment in a conference center, but rather in beautiful old theaters, bars, parks, pop-up event spaces with food trucks, tables, vendors and Ping-Pong, and informal gathering spots. In […]

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The Surprising Urban Geography of Pokemon Go

You see them chasing digital dreams,  shadows of their childhood. Young people ambling slowly with faces pressed to their phones, clumps plotting on benches. It’s Pokemon Go,  the new game! Half digital, half material, and a sign of things to come. I don’t have to explain it to you, because a hundred hot takes have done […]

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