Category: Urban Design

Now more than ever, we need A Field Guide to Public Spaces

-Editors note: streets.mn is once again presenting essays on Twin Cities’ public space from students at Macalester College. Read through all the essays from this and previous years here. “No justice, no streets!” This pronouncement rang out during the many demonstrations for racial justice that have taken place since the summer of 2020 in the […]

Downtow St. Paul with Green Line in foreground

America’s Most Liveable City? A 1-Year Retrospective on St. Paul

Intro I moved to St. Paul last summer for work. Sadly, after just one short year, I am once again relocating for work, so I am leaving St. Paul. I came here from a large East Coast city where I relied on walking, biking, and transit to get everywhere because I don’t own a car. […]

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.

The M.U.T.C.D. Revisited

From the FHWA website:“The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways or MUTCD defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways and private roads open to public travel”. It is “a compilation of national standards for all traffic control […]

Streets.mn Virtual Happy Hour: Rethinking Duluth’s Core

Have you ever driven, ridden or walked around in Duluth and noticed how Interstate 35 cuts through the city almost impenetrably?  Perhaps you have noticed the sheer scale of the freeway and overpasses and their seeming lack of relation to the context of the human-scaled surroundings? Maybe you wish there were more natural spaces, softer […]

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 […]

Time to Press Pause on the Gold Line

I’ve tried to keep an open mind to the Gold Line/Gateway Corridor between St. Paul and Woodbury ever since bus rapid transit (BRT) was the chosen mode. Transit improvements in the East Metro are just as needed as in the West Metro. However, the more the project has progressed, the more I see flaws with […]

21 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis.

No, We Should Not Abolish the HPC. But It Could Look Different.

An essay posted January 15, 2021 on streets.mn entitled “Preserve The Future, Not Just The Past” is a fairly typical critique of heritage preservation and the role of heritage preservation commissions (HPCs) in American cities. The article points to the frequently absurd minutia and short-sightedness of HPC meetings and staff reports, but does not fully […]