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Christmas Comes to Polk Street

A long-blighted property in the 55418 is no more.

Backhoe demolishes 2632 Polk St NE

May this be the first step toward major redevelopment in the Audubon Park neighborhood.


Minneapolis Upgrading Parking Meters

A couple of days back I tossed out a suggestion to help Minneapolis meet its budget shortfall. Turns out our City Overlords are working in the oppostie direction:


Sell the Meters

As the municipal home of NRR is facing a deteriorating financial position, I have a suggestion. Divest non-essential services. In particular, sell the rights to operate parking meters.

Chicago just raised $1.15 billion in cash by selling their meter rights for 75 years. They have 36,000 meters, while Minneapolis has only 6,800. But that would still result in a payment something over $200 million, assuming a similar rate.


Back from the Dead

…they re-arranged the American landscape, creating suburbs, transforming manufacturing districts, robbing small towns of their vitality and linking formerly distinct cities in a series of metropolitan corridors


A Guilty Planner

Futurists used to be more optimistic:

It's my business to help Canadians understand and adapt to a future that is different from the past. I am a 21st-century city planner.

Along with fellow futurists, I advocate less vehicle travel, more cycling and transit use, smaller cars and sensible energy consumption. The terms "eco-density," "high-occupancy vehicles" and "environmental footprint" are common currency.


Smart Decline

The population of New Orleans is half its 1960 peak. Post-Katrina resettlement has slowed to “a trickle”. Some neighborhoods have regained full vitality, while others wither and some are, for all intents, dead. With a stable population, now the people and their government must decide how to address depleted and abandoned areas.


NRP Director Running for Mayor

Bob Miller, a familiar face to Minneapolis community activists, wants to be Mayor.

…Miller believes the neighborhoods and residents of Minneapolis are being ignored at the city government level and that the city’s finances need to be reexamined and more carefully managed.


A Condo by Any Other Name

The neighborhood in which the Negative Railroad is headquartered recently updated its brand identity. I was involved in the effort. We’re an old neighborhood, with some blocks settled for well over a century. Decades ago the City gave us a name, Audubon Park. With that bit of identity pre-established, our branding committee was spared this exercise:


You Can’t Lose What You Don’t Have

Arnold Kling echoes my experience in tracking problem properties, foreclosures and vacant houses as a community activist:

We Do Not Trust Ourselves

That entity which we call “a market” is not an entity at all. Markets are a collection of smaller entities engaged with each other. Markets are emergent processes. A coordinated pattern emerges from independent agents repeating relatively simple acts.

Imagining the Protests

A sign of progress from NRR’s neighborhood: has identified Northeast Minneapolis as a great buying opportunity.


Greed Hauls No Freight

I find much inspiration in the Antiplanner’s posting about railroad magnate James J. Hill.

[Hill] quickly built to Grand Forks and Devils Lake, North Dakota, accessing hundreds of thousands of acres of prime wheat growing country. The St. Paul & Pacific came with a small land grant, which Hill sold to settlers at rock-bottom prices with the goal of putting farmers on the land who would grow crops that his railroad could ship. The railroad was soon shipping close to a quarter of the spring wheat grown in the U.S. and paying its shareholders 8 percent annual dividends.


Communal Transit Thievery

One rhetorical device I like using in communal transit discussions is, “For every dollar a rider puts in the farebox, he is stealing two more dollars from someone who never rides.” That ridership numbers are sometimes higher than expected then comes as little surprise. It is as if people are being paid to take the bus.


Caffeinate Corporately

A daring adventure beyond the limits of the “Think Globally–Caffeinate Locally” mindset reveals surprising vistas. Corporate Coffee and Crazy Aunt Coffee are competitors, but they need not be enemies. It was, after all, Starbucks which moved the latté into our daily consciousness. CoffeeCorp made all those artsy-activist mocha mills possible.


Neighborhood Brands

Can neighborhoods benefit from branding? Amy Sheppard thinks neighborhoods are essentially brands already.

The neighborhood name serves to set the story. It provides an instant understanding of the place, people, feeling, attitude, and reputation associated with the neighborhood—just like a brand of Apple, Sony, and Starbucks.


Why are Neighborhood Nodes Dying?

This, from the Antiplanner, seems relevant to wondering what
happened to thriving neighborhood nodes in the 60s and 70s and to today's potential for niche districts (kitsch/arts/whatever):



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