Minneapolis' New Urbanism Success Story

A case study in how New Urbanist principles helped transform the neighborhood around the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

2 minute read

April 8, 2015, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Minneapolis Green Line University of Minnesota

Michale Hicks / Flickr

Chris Iverson begins a post describing the success of New Urbanism in Minneapolis by noting auto-oriented state of the neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota in 2006, when he first visited the area and noted the ability to drive through campus in a rental car while some 100 students waited to cross the street.

Iverson writes, however, of a new dynamic:

"Oh, how the times have changed for the better, especially around Minnesota’s Big Ten college. And even more specifically, how they have changed for Stadium Village & the Washington Avenue strip, a previously vehicle-torched, heavily overlooked faux-entertainment district into the poster child of New Urbanist principles within the entire state of Minnesota."

The article breaks down the evolution into periods of time, starting before 2009 with investments in retail offerings along Washington Avenue and the planning process for the Central Corridor (Green Line) light rail line to campus. Next, Iverson describes "the boom" of 2009-2014, when TCF Bank Stadium opened, mixed-use student housing opened at a brisk pace, and construction began on the Green Line. Iverson describes 2014-present as "New Urbanism Realized," with pedestrian, bike, and transit modes now safe and popular options and light rail ridership exceeding expectations.

The article concludes with a plea for more partnerships between the private, public, and institutional sectors to effect more changes such as those illustrated in the article in other parts of the city and state. 

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