Study: How to Revitalize Downtown Minneapolis

A proposal calls for a reevaluation of the city’s skyways, a focus on street-facing businesses, and an improved public realm.

2 minute read

March 28, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skylinw with stone arched brige in foreground.

f11photo / Adobe Stock

A study from the city of Minneapolis and the Downtown Alliance highlights the need for “more residents, better sidewalks, and some redevelopments” as part of a strategy to boost economic development in the city’s downtown, reports Bill Lindeke in the Minneapolis Post. “The main takeaway is the need for better sidewalks, places that boast street-front businesses, calmed traffic, and plenty of amenities. The report lumps all of this under the umbrella term “public realm,” describing the streets linking together currently thriving downtown areas.”

The study calls out the city’s famous skyways, noting that skyway traffic often makes street-level sidewalks more deserted. “Rather gently, the report suggests further study to ‘determine the viability of appropriately configuring the skyway to meet current and future needs.’ In other words, there are probably a few parts of the skyway system that could be amputated, and street life returned to the sidewalk where it belongs.”

Urbanists familiar with Minneapolis have long argued that the city needs a more comprehensive sidewalk network and public-facing downtown businesses to counteract the wide swaths of building faces that prompted William H. Whyte to call it “the blank wall capital of the United States.”

The study also references the downtown entertainment district as a key component of revitalization, as well as the need to redevelop some parcels that could bring new businesses and development to the area.

Monday, March 25, 2024 in Minneapolis Post

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