Urban Fold

Could Minneapolis' Skyways Actually Enliven the City's Streetscape?

Although they've been derided by urbanists near and far, Minneapolitans overwhelmingly support the city's Skyways. James Corner Field Operations embraces the skyway system as a key element in its proposal for the city's Nicollet Mall Redesign.

"Minneapolis, with its 8+ miles of skyway has had reams of ink written about its history, its pros (shelter, higher rents, architectural landmarks) and its cons (kills street life, ruins retail businesses, is confusing/claustrophobic), and what we should do about them (tear them down, seize them with eminent domain, improve access)," observes Samuel Geer. 

"Refreshingly," he says, a recent proposal by Field Operations for upgrading Nicollet Mall, the city's historic retail throughfare, "embraces the skyways and draws from the contemporary urban space playbook to create new landmarks and a more coherent network of public spaces downtown."

"While the meat of the design proposal relates to the streetscape interventions and the re-branding of the mall into 'Live, Play, and Work' districts, the skyways and their intersections with the street inform the placement of several key space making elements of the plan," explains Geer. 

Full Story: The Nicollet Walk: A Stairway to the Skyway

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