Category: Urban Design

In Honor of Earth Day 50, Stepping Up is Easy: A Virtual Cleanup

What day is it? It’s hard to know anymore, in the face of the pandemic response and seemingly austere regimen. Did you know that this week marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration? It officially began with the coordination of a nationwide environmental forum by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, in response […]

transit riders

Five Facets of Recovery from COVID-19

“It [the pandemic] is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready […]

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Walking All the Streets of Southwest Lynnhurst

Adjoining areas are similar, but each view is unique—even viewing the same site from a different angle. In broad terms, this fourth visit to Lynnhurst was similar to the first, which I described as “Some parkland, a school, a church, a restaurant, and a whole bunch of single-family homes.” (Indeed, the second and third days were also close to that […]

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Dispatch from Black Friday

Every year I make an expedition to the Mall of America on Black Friday with no specific agenda. Living in downtown Minneapolis, I can buy an all-day Metro Transit pass for $5, saving $1.55 in gasoline, 13 pounds of carbon dioxide and a chip out of my soul. We were riding the lemon yellow light […]

Photo of two people standing in the shade of a light pole

3 Ideas to Create Better Summer Cities

Summer’s recent resurgence has bummed me out since I’m not exactly a fan of hot weather, but the bright side is that it means this post (which I procrastinated on writing for about two months) can be published and still be somewhat timely even as the first signs of autumn appear. As global warming continues […]

Downtown East

Downtown Apartment Areas Deserve Better Bus Service

Thousands of new apartments have been built on the fringes of downtown Minneapolis in the North Loop, the Guthrie Theatre area (Downtown East) and across the river in Old St. Anthony. These new residents ought to be prime candidates for bus service, but Metro Transit has made no service changes or improvements to try and […]

Nicollet Mall at U.S. Bancorp Center, facing south. Photo taken August 11, 2019.

Reimagining Nicollet Mall for Micro-Mobility

During the NCAA Final Four, Nicollet Mall achieved what the planners had only dreamed of. It was a packed, vibrant hive of pedestrian activation with visitors shooting hoops, dining outside and even riding a Ferris wheel. The festivities ceded the 24-foot-wide bus lanes to pedestrians, and the activities and outdoor dining attracted crowds. Months later, […]

watering cans

The Ten Blocks

I drive along Dowling, a busy avenue in my North Minneapolis neighborhood. As I travel the ten blocks I know like my own hands, a quote swirls through my brain. Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things. Small doings are in plain sight, […]

Stp Skyway Chairs

The St. Paul Skyway: Public Space or Scrutinized Lobby?

[Part of the Saint Paul Field Guide to Public Spaces, put together by a geography class at Macalester College in fall 2018. See introduction here.] by Luke Sageser Take a walk through the skyways at noon on a weekday, and you get the impression that you have stumbled into a hybridization of a mall, an apartment complex, […]

Tile Entry Memphis

Tile Entries

One of the things you get to see when you walk instead of drive is tile entryways to commercial (and sometimes residential) buildings. I’ve been collecting photos of tile for a while, mostly from somewhere other than the Twin Cities. Some of the designs are decorative only, as in the first row of images. Semi-floral, […]