Inevitably, in the well worn “...Grand Rapids needs to be more like Chicago” discussion – sometime between my first weary sigh and my ultimate request for the check – I'm asked to suggest a better aspirational metropolis. My answer is always the same: Minneapolis.
As the last midwest outpost before the wild west, it seems that Minneapolis/St. Paul has always had a great Do it Yourself/Make Your Own Fun ethic. From The Guthrie Theater in the early sixties and all its subsequent feeders and spin-offs to Twin Tone Records in the seventies and all of their ferocious noise; from their long time community commitment to its parks and natural resources to their recent commitment to their transportation infrastructure; MSP has never ceased to inspire me as an urban designer.
Minneapolis has always been its own thing in its own place - that is the inspiration. I never hear apologies for Frank's Weisman or Jean's New Guthrie or the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge because the City and its institutions are not afraid to aim high. They've planned, they've aspired, and they've built a great city. We can and should all be so lucky.
I love Minneapolis.
Brief Parade of Favorite MSP Links: