Posts Tagged ‘creative city-making’



September 24, 2014

The PB article in Saturday’s paper entitled “We Need People” mentioned improving quality of life via new restaurants and art venues….which is valid…but certainly that is not the full picture!

After my first twelve (12) weeks here, I have a list of a few things I think also need to be addressed/added:

The Traditionalist and Boomer voices are loud and clear in their wishes but I am somewhat uncomfortable in these community meetings to look around at the sea of gray hair as I think to myself…where are the Millennials? Building for the future does not make sense if that new vision will only appeal to those of us that will no longer be in the workforce once that vision is realized – twenty years from now.

From what I learned about the Millennials when I was involved in similar “place-making” projects in Minneapolis – this is a big mistake! In fact, much of the energy and forward-thinking ideas that became part of PLAN-it Hennepin came from the students at Fair School that were integrated into our teams.

They were incredible; and their perspective often redirected the rest of us as we overlooked some fairly important elements- as they politely steered us back on the path of what will be needed IN THE FUTURE.

We need to remember that the Millennials are not a car generation; nor are they a house-in-suburb generation. To get more people to live here to provide that needed pool for labor, we might want to think bikers and walkers; public transportation options, and downtown housing needs.

And, as a city dweller for most of last twenty (20) years, I learned that also means grocery stores, office supplies, and a Walmart/Target-type option.

I know from my house search this Spring – there are not a lot of options downtown today. Since I arrived, I have experimented with the public transportation system occasionally and can get to Apache, Crossroads and Silver Lake Shopping Center without much trouble. It is less friendly if I want to visit one of my siblings living in Rochester. And I certainly miss HOUR CAR or a similar option when I need a big grocery run.

I recognize I have been influenced by interactions with leaders in creative city-making such as Charles Landry, Candy Chang, and especially Gil Penelosa during their residencies in MSP, so my intuition says to create not only a functional city, but also a happy city, we need more dreamers to balance out the gray-haired nay-sayers!



May 29, 2014

I’ve had a bit of a sabbatical here as I was immersed in plans to relocate and indeed, I am off in search of my third career,  and also to return to my roots….not only in terms of where (Civic Square in Rochester, MN) but in terms of medical support (my clinic number starts with 1 and some of us born in my era were Dr. Spock’s “subjects” before he wrote “the Book”-that means a long time ago).

As with everything in life, the REASONS are complicated, but it all began in desperation as a result of the disasterous  “fall” off that darn platform in 2002. Since 2012, I’ve been fighting the residual effects that have now all appeared with a vengeance as I age and finally, in desperation, I turned back to Mayo for help….and the rest is history!

They actually helped me!  No, I did not have to travel all over the metro seeing “specialists” that participated in the referral payments plan of MSP nor was I subjected to endless MRIs.  No need to revisit all this; basically, I saw three specialists in a DAY; have had a couple return visits and 30 months later, my personal out-of-pocket costs totaled $65 with much better care and advice than I was getting here.

I tried to switch back to Mayo for primary care, but I am too far way for today’s cutoff-which is out in Lakeville, I think.

And then Mayo announced their expansion plans and the rest is history.

Although I have never earned a living with my old college degree in city planning, the interest did not go away.  When I sold my house and moved out of the dreary suburbs and into the city, I was already committed to involvement in the “Mississippi Mile” and last year, I gave almost 1000 hours of volunteer time to “Creative City Making.”

From East Bank to West Bank to Above the Falls on the Mississippi; to Plan It Hennepin, Nicollet “Mile” redesign, the initial redo of five blocks of Washington Avenue and revisits to the Gateway; plus lots of meetings and plans for the Downtown East redevelopment….it has become my life as I gradually recognized what my physical impairments could mean to the success/failure of Creative Events by Kranz.

And then the DMC was launched.  WOW!  Long before we all heard about it, Mayo had done its homework and yes, the resulting plan is an ambitious one.  Double the size of the Mayo footprint in Rochester means double the support services in downtown RST and yes, I want to be a part of that!

Maybe its a little payback to the Rochester/Mayo Foundation for scholarships that- along with loans from an older brother-made it possible for me to graduate from the U; maybe it is simply the wonderful opportunity to work with the pros on a great placemaking project….it does not matter; I am off! 

Will I be as involved there as I am here?  We will see what happens.  Maybe a small part time job will keep my brain occupied…maybe an usher at MCC…maybe an on call helper for one of the several event companies that have emerged in RST…or maybe I can help expand the ISES MSP presence with some new blood from RST.  Who knows?

All I know, is that it is the right thing for me now…and I am very excited.

As I set out on this journey, I am so grateful to friends and family who’ve helped me think it through; who have questioned and suggested and supported me through all the twists and turns I’ve taken as I contemplated taking this journey.  As I look back on the last six months, I realize how rich I am in friendships!

Each of you were supportive and encouraging as I slowly moved to make this big change.  You know who you are and I thank you for your presence and encouragement every step of the way!