Some Mandatory Reading
This probably isn’t that exciting to most MN ex-pats, but I get stupidly excited by any combination of urban policy and Minneapolis Pride, have a read:
To most Americans, Minneapolis is a stranger. There are exceptions, moments when the city percolates up—the first time a kid somewhere hears the Replacements, say, or when a bridge falls into the Mississippi. But to most people most of the time, Minneapolis is a place with no real shape or texture.
Perhaps the city is to blame for its anonymity. Maybe the people hard at work in this laboratory for progressive culture should worry more about outsiders taking notice. The attention, when it comes, is certainly appreciated.
Minneapolitans relish the steady drumbeat of “best city” rankings: No. 1 Bike City (Bicycling magazine, 2011), Gayest City in America (The Advocate, 2011), Most Literate City (America’s Most Literate Cities study, 2007-08). In 2008, Minneapolis was one of only two American cities to make the British Monocle magazine’s list of the most livable cities in the world.
Sure, these are sometimes frivolous and arbitrary contests. But for a city that lives in the imaginations of Americans as a culturally isolated outpost of extreme and permanent cold, they are small but significant triumphs—and evidence that something is going right in Minneapolis.
Civic achievement, banal as it sounds, can be found without following a flow chart during a public meeting at City Hall. It is a buzzing park, a painter turning a street corner utility box into art, block after block of thriving independent businesses, a festival for every obsession and persuasion—it’s growing, engaged immigrant communities. Minneapolis is all of these things. It is not a utopia, not by any stretch. It’s just a city that works.
Also… did you guys know there’s such a thing as MNopedia?! It’s not a wiki – which is diappointing – but I’m sure it’s chock full of interesting tid-bits like...
The new design of the bicycle made it increasingly popular. So did a drop in price. In the 1880s, the selling price of ordinary bicycles averaged $100 to $150, about six months’ pay at the time. Safety bicycles started at a similar price, but their price dropped through the 1890s, until bicycle sellers in Minneapolis in 1898 could advertise basic models for sale at thirty dollars.