Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist


Minnehaha Avenue Will Test the City of Minneapolis Climate Action Plan

Dateline: 3:47 pm October 9, 2013 Filed under:

Hennepin County has decided to proceed with rebuilding Minnehaha Avenue in 2015 and 2016. A good plan, but not great. The much-discussed cycletrack is off the table, and the street will be rebuilt with bike lanes similar to today but with some improvements for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s announcement shows that organization’s disappointment with the County’s unwillingness to both listen to significant public input favoring a cycletrack or to provide a meaningful cycletrack design for the public to respond. As this video on Upworthy by a mystery Dutchman shows, the county’s proposal doesn’t ensure much of an improvement for cyclists (the county will…

Don’t Overthink Good Urbanism on Nicollet Mall

Dateline: 4:10 pm July 31, 2013 Filed under:

The City of Minneapolis is promising to spend a lot of money on some critical pieces of downtown infrastructure. The new Vikings Stadium and Downtown East area, Peavey Plaza, Nicollet Mall all are being considered for major capital investments. With Nicollet Mall, take one look at the people using the street and you can see that maybe the answer doesn’t lie in fancy infrastructure and world-class designers, perhaps the key is the social realm. What’s more is it’s already happening. We need look no further than food trucks, the farmers market and the Piazza on the Mall for proof. Earlier this week…

A Failure of Frontage

Dateline: 12:10 pm March 13, 2013 Filed under:

Do cities have a “failure of frontage?” I credit Dan Parolek of Opticos Design for coining the term. When I was researching a post on form-based codes in the Bay Area, Dan explained he believes cities everywhere have a failure of frontage, that we focus so much on other elements of urbanism that we overlook the basics. We worry about shape, height, bulk, ever-evil DENSITY, parking and traffic problems, but we fail to do the simple thing and make the building engaging to the pedestrian. We have a failure of frontage, and it’s not unique to Minneapolis. A recent post of mine at…

We Must Accept Density and Rental Housing at the KMart Site

Dateline: 7:42 am August 28, 2012 Filed under:

Let’s get one thing out of the way…high density and rental housing will likely be required as part of the redevelopment of the KMart site in Minneapolis. If we can accept that as fact, perhaps we can get this thing done and reopen Nicollet Avenue, perhaps add a streetcar, connect to the Midtown Greenway, and create a wonderful urban development that raises the value of the city around it. Everyone has their own story about how much they dislike that KMart or how it is bad for the city. As for me, four years ago I completed the Lyn-Lake Small…