October 12, 2013

An interesting exercise to visualize what should replace Holidazzle in the STRIB today…

…but after reading it, I’d say those interviewed should keep their “day” job and we ought to stick with letting Leah Wong and the Downtown Council develop their own plan.  At least there is concrete evidence in reading their 2025 Vision for Minneapolis that they are looking forward, not backward…or askew!

Tom Fisher’s idea to “let the community” participate in generating ideas was the most viable and on target as it reflects exactly what the city has been doing over the last  few years, as it has concentrated on creative city and place making.  Otherwise, the STRIB and the answers seem to have fallen into all the old traps.

 All interviewed focused on the Nicollet Mall as it exists today -except for one chap who thinks it “goes all the way to the river” when in today’s world, It ENDS at Washington Avenue and the beautiful building housing ING.

Interesting that within the STRIB it appears folks don’t seem to be talking to each other…. They recently featured not only the efforts to re-invent Nicollet Mall including the three finalists and the winning design team; they have featured the move to recognize and improve the Cultural Corridor from Nicollet to First Avenue; they have even alluded to other projects in the works from the Gateway to the Hennepin Underpass and the Walker, the redesign of Washington Avenue as well as various other Creative Placemaking efforts.  And yet, this article reads like a vision out of 1950! In short, we are in the process of re-inventing Nicollet Mall, folks, so you are mostly on the wrong track2.  All focused on developing a new plan probably with another “shelf life” of twenty years that totally disregards a changing demographic of the Minneapolis population that focuses only on old white man ideas.

Many focused on a retail world long since gone from Nicollet Mall instead of Nicollet Mall that has emerged as a business, cultural and residential center of today.

Dean Phillips’ idea for a Loring Park “Tivoli Gardens” may be worth considering as a stand- alone but hopefully stands for a “type” description and not a desire to copy an idea.  Perhaps his thoughts could be expanded to support the existing visions of creative city making in Mpls. that connect Loring/Sculpture Garden and address that dreary underpass    

 “Flooding” Nicollet Mall might have some repercussions to downtown businesses if the compacted, crowded utility lines underneath were accidently “flooded” along the way…not to say a rink is totally unreasonable – rinks in the Gateway,  Loring Park, Peavey or at the new gathering place at the south end of downtown Nicollet Mall could be viable.

 But the inclusion of Paul Ridgeway as the one expert in events? In case you all have missed it, we have many modern creatives in this town, doing a lot of experiential events – both large and small, and more than a few of them are gaining international fame and acclaim.  Ridgeway, on the other hand  threw in the buzzword “interactive” and recycled a pretty old idea.  Not to say a nostalgic experience from our childhood 50 years ago would not be appealing but….


Not one of these ideas capitalized on engaging interactive things we are all experimenting with in our daily lives and in events in the 21st century; nor do these ideas tie or expand  anything the city is in the midst of today.  Nor do they  captures Minneapolis of the future.  

All this to say, my faith is in Leah Wong and the Downtown Council-not in those interviewed today.




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