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Evan Roberts

Minneapolis, MN
Commenter for
3 years 16 weeks

Recent Comments

Posted on 08/01/13 at 12:28 pm in response to One developer should not dictate the future of Dinkytown

Dinkytown is a lovely area, but its charm rests on the people in the area, not any particular building.

What Opus is proposing with its mixed commercial/residential development would actually restore this block to closer to what it used to look like before buildings were torn down for parking in the 1960s (a direct result of the Minneapolis zoning code requiring off-street parking). In the 1920s and 1930s, for example, this block was densely populated with buildings and had nearly...

Posted on 06/24/13 at 03:35 pm in response to Dinkytown building demolition

"Urban renewal" was a specific group of government-sponsored demolition and redevelopment projects in the 1960s and 1970s that often had the characteristic of whole blocks being demolished at the same time. The failure of "urban renewal" was often that no new developments went in for a long time. Justifiably it got a bad name as a policy.

When a private company demolishes a building, and immediately puts up something else, that is renewing an urban area, but it's not "urban renewal"...

Posted on 03/26/13 at 12:23 pm in response to Mayor Coleman hits the college haunts to see what students are thinking

How about making it easier for students to live in Saint Paul when they're studying? Let people build apartments near some of these colleges. Don't restrict private landlords from deciding who they want to rent to in the neighborhoods around the colleges ...

Posted on 12/22/12 at 01:10 pm in response to 7 best planning moves in Twin Cities history

This is a good list (definitely agree with #1!), and I'd second the view that the Midtown Greenway should be on the list. It's had a big impact in just a decade.

You're a little generous with Saint Paul and its lack of parking lots. Walk a few blocks and you'll find them.

Posted on 12/20/12 at 12:39 pm in response to 9 worst urban planning moves in Twin Cities history

Great article, though I don't agree with all of the items or the order, if order means something (#4 seems far more consequential than #3, though both are undoubtedly mistakes).

The list itself is an interesting mix of systemic and large-scale decisions that will be hard to undo with smaller blunders that could be fixed relatively easily.

To wit, #1, #2, and #4 were huge blunders, and concentrated in about 20 years worth of destruction. The mindset that cars are the only way...

Posted on 11/27/12 at 03:23 pm in response to Gateway Park: When will Minneapolis get a signature downtown park?

"Initially, I was a little disappointed that the vision wasn't quite as grand as Manhattan's Central Park."

This is a bizarre comparison. The functional equivalent of Central Park in Minneapolis is the Grand Rounds. We already have that, and it's better than what most other cities have in the way of park space. The other comparisons (Bryant, Washington Square, Rice, Mears) are more appropriate, but go take a look at them, and they're much smaller than a park one block wide stretching...

Posted on 11/29/12 at 02:52 pm in response to Gateway Park: When will Minneapolis get a signature downtown park?

Don't get me wrong, I love parks, and take daily advantage of the park system. Most successful city parks are not just destinations, but on the way to somewhere else, which is often not another park. People from Olmsted to Jane Jacobs recognized this. Central Park -- surrounded by buildings. Rice and Mears Park, great examples, but again in the middle of a [locally] dense part of town.

I'm skeptical we need this much park heading out of the density of downtown.

Posted on 09/04/12 at 01:47 pm in response to Why (almost) nothing seems to be getting done in Minneapolis

Well said, Marlys Harris.

The attitude of some of the city council to development was expressed by Meg Tuthill who said in relation to the Linden Hills development moratorium waiver: "Waiting another six months is not going to make much difference [to the developer]."

It seems quite plausible that waiting six months could be the difference between a profitable and thus built proposal, and one that doesn't make sense on paper.

The zoning code encourages neighborhoods to...

Posted on 08/23/12 at 01:55 pm in response to Why there's an empty lot across from Lake Calhoun

There's an interesting political economy underlying what Minneapolis has in place, which is an apparently strict zoning code that the City Council (elected and administrative) will compromise on (variances) that also gives neighborhood groups a large, but undefined say, in what gets built.

The idea that neighborhood associations have a right to control what gets built is, when you reflect on it, rather at odds with the classical version of "property rights" and limited government...

Posted on 06/01/12 at 03:35 pm in response to DFL appears well-poised for comeback on eve of state convention

Winning back the majority means flipping 4 seats in the Senate and 6 in the House for bare majorities in both chambers. I think a long-term story of Minnesota politics is the gradual replacement of outstate DFLers with suburban DFLers. So open seats outstate make the task harder than it looks. But in a state with fairly drawn boundaries flipping 4 out of 67 and 6 out of 134 seats is not a huge order.