To Maintain Its Vitality, Twin Cities Must Hone Its Story

In the first of two articles looking at how Minneapolis-St. Paul can remain a prosperous and livable place, Jay Walljasper examines the Twin Cities' identity crisis.

"Twin Cities, we have a problem!" says Jay Walljasper, who has authored a report for the McKnight Foundation’s Food for Thought series on the prospects for the continued vitality of Minneapolis-St. Paul. "We’re not on most people’s radar of lively, livable, progressive, prosperous, places. The cities we compete with for business, jobs and well-educated young workers enjoy strong identities as attractive, interesting places." 

Yet, notes Ann Markusen, director of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Project on Regional and Industrial Economies, “On many economic and quality of life features, the Twin Cities outperforms other much admired metros — Boston, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Diego. Higher educational attainment, higher labor force participation, better job opportunities for young people, lower unemployment, and higher median income adjusted for cost of living.”

"But none of this makes any difference if we keep it to ourselves," says Walljasper. "To pay only scant attention to our image in a globalized age is the equivalent of relying on a landline and P.O. box with no email, Facebook, twitter, texting or Instagram. For young people especially, who’ve internalized 'The Brand Called You' ethic of our times, reticence in talking up our strengths is interpreted as being feeble rather than being modest."

Full Story: Minneapolis-St. Paul’s identity crisis could mean trouble for our future

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95