Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dense-city?

photo of downtown Minneapolis
© harrington
Can you remember when the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis? Now it's almost like a mushroom in a forest of redwoods. It seems that, in My Minnesota, we grow taller, we spread out, and we do both. Two of the buildings helping to dwarf the Foshay Tower are the Carlyle (behind it) and the IDS Tower (to Foshay's left). One has become iconic, the other is relatively new. What you can't see in this picture are the multitudes of parking lots within a few blocks of these towers. Is it just me or does that kind of situation seem kind of strange to you too? What could it be about the proximity of a central business district, "downtown Minneapolis," that makes a parking lot (not even a garage) the "best and highest use" for a nearby piece of urban land? This seems to involve elements we haven't quite worked out about urban design and development. It's becoming more important to get these arrangements working better since now more than 50% of us are living in cities. As we learn to create great cities we do more to protect the wilderness.