Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist


Urban Design Review – the New Seward Co-op on 38th Street

Dateline: 4:47 pm September 7, 2016 Filed under:

Earlier on 2016 the Seward Co-op opened its Friendship Store at 38th Street and Clinton Avenue in south Minneapolis. While this new grocery store has received good reviews, and deservedly so, I must chime in to point out a few quibbles I have with its urban design (well, someone has to). Hopefully we can learn from these mistakes, and perhaps there are ways to address these issues in a proactive manner. First off, the doors. Two doors are available for customers. One (shown above) faces west towards the parking lot, has easy-to-access sliding doors typical of grocers, and for all…

US Bank Stadium – A Review

Dateline: 2:27 pm August 11, 2016 Filed under:

If there is a billion dollar view to be had in Minnesota, it is from the concourse above the lower bowl on the east side of the stadium. There I stood last Wednesday, leaning one of those tall tables that line the concourses, beer in hand, gazing across the immaculate grass field toward the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The early evening sun was streaming in the huge west windows, casting long shadows on the soccer pitch, shining on me and several other fans as we excitedly awaited kickoff between Chelsea and A.C. Milan. It was cool to be part of this…

38th Street Station – Public Policy Victory

Dateline: 2:39 pm August 8, 2016 Filed under:

This is the third in a series of posts about development at 38th Street Station. The first presented the overall 38th Street Station vision, and the second looked how pedestrians get to the 38th Street station. We are aware of the City of Minneapolis policy and plan, completed in 2007 in cooperation with local neighborhood groups, for the area around the 38th Street station of the Blue Line, so this post considers how the 38th Street Station plan meets the transit-oriented development (TOD) policy goals of Met Transit. The Metropolitan Council has a Transit Oriented Development Policy with four major…

Detroit Still Exists

Dateline: 8:35 pm July 21, 2016 Filed under:

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 other words, out in the city. Between walking to and from my hotel to various conference events, I observed and soaked up quite a bit of downtown life. I have to say, I’m very impressed. Detroit’s public realm and remaining building fabric provide a strong basis for…

Walking to 38th Street Station

Dateline: 1:43 pm June 15, 2016 Filed under:

I’ve lived near the 38th Street station for 12 years, and have observed the many ways people get to and from the station. I have my own personal habit, and follow different paths going to and coming from the train. So, in the spirit of Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl, PPS and urban nerds everywhere, I sat for a half-hour last month to observe and actually plot on a map how people get to and from the station platform. How we all get to 38th Street Station influences how we plan for development nearby. The results, shown below, are interesting. I printed a black and…

Delivering the TOD Pizza to 38th Street Station

Dateline: 9:46 pm June 1, 2016 Filed under:

Imagine walking to the 38th Street station to catch a Blue Line train and walking along a tree-lined 38th Street, stopping to grab a coffee and having a chat with a neighbor at the plaza. Imagine getting off the train after a Twins game and stopping for a drink at a sidewalk café or picking up some fresh vegetables from a vendor. Imagine this occurring right at the station. The Lander Group 38th Street Station plan envisions all of this, with additional housing and retail options all framed by a vastly improved public realm. I’ve been working with Lander Group for about nine months on the 38th…

3828: Building a Likeable City

Dateline: 10:50 pm March 21, 2016 Filed under:

Andy Root has a decade of experience buying older streetcar commercial buildings in south Minneapolis. Perhaps the most notable tenant in his portfolio is the Northbound Brewpub. So when Andy bought the building plus a small lot across the street from the Northbound, he sought a partner to develop that site. He picked up to phone and called Michael Lander of the Lander Group. Michael had been quietly interested in transit-oriented development near the 38th Street station, and offered to partner with Andy. I already knew Andy, as we’re both investors in the Northbound, and when Michael reached out to me, I was happy to…

Boating to Stillwater

Dateline: 8:32 pm January 29, 2016 Filed under:

The mid-winter thaw has me in a boating frame of mind. With perhaps barely two months left before the first spring outing, the sound of dripping gutters has me recalling adventures last year and plotting more in 2016. I wrote last spring about the joys of boating to lunch in Excelsior, so here is a little outing to historic Stillwater this past summer. I hope your takeaway is two-fold: being on the water is wonderful, and walkable urbanism is really pretty simple. My two boys and I launched our 1984 Lund “Mr. Pike” with Mercury “Classic 50” (Long May You Run) at the…

Walking in Hackney

Dateline: 3:15 pm December 3, 2015 Filed under:

Every once in a while I discover a truly wonderful, utterly walkable neighborhood. Sometimes it requires traveling 4,000 miles to find it. On my recent trip to London I stayed in a neighborhood in the borough of Hackney, just north and east of the City. I checked in to my Air B&B and set off on foot to explore. I was immediately captivated and happy. Don’t get me wrong, you could set me down on any street there, and I’d take one look at the color of the bricks and the distinct chimneys and I’d exclaim “I’m in London, and…

Great Streets and Human Enjoyment

Dateline: 1:51 pm November 19, 2015 Filed under:

My goodness but people certainly drive fast in the United States; it sure makes streets unpleasant. That was my first impression upon returning home from a recent trip to Paris and London, and I was only crossing 38th Street, hardly the biggest or fastest street around! Then, just this past week, two non-urbanists in my life had negative comments about street speed in Minneapolis. My mother indicated how she’s uncomfortable sitting at a sidewalk table along Lake Street in Uptown because of the proximity to and speed of passing traffic. A friend of mine who lives downtown is happy about all the development but really…