Went on an adventure along University Ave, MN to find the public murals along the street. My friend and I decided to go find the murals by bike but it became a bit difficult to find them because of the street’s construction for the new light rail corridor. Regardless, we were still able to find a lot of beautiful murals. Creating public murals is an awesome idea for a community to develop a positive image in their neighborhood. It brings the community together, prevents graffiti vandalism, plus they just look super cool.
I have always wanted to have chickens. Its just something about wanting to have fresh eggs and being a little bit more sustainable. But for those of you who are thinking why would someone want to have chickens if they’re not living on a farm, here are 10 reasons why.
So you see, having chickens are awesome!
The more and more I research about where perceptions come from, the more I realize how much of an influence an environment can make. It all became clear when I interviewed a neighborhood consultant for my internship at a neighborhood Business and Area Coalition. He pretty much confirmed my biggest assumption about perceptions: if it looks like you are taking care of a place then the place will be perceived as being safe and stability will follow. It relates to a theory I learned in one of my classes at Augsburg College, the Broken Windows Theory.
Broken Windows Theory was a study done on neighborhood crime and vandalism. Basically, a car was left on a street for weeks and nothing was done to the car. Even though no one took care of it, no vandalism or any other crimes were done to the car. However, a broken window was made in an attempt to stimulate crime to the car and sure enough, within days the car received more broken windows, theft, and graffiti. This theory therefore claims that if there is something that does not look like it is being taken care of, than others will reciprocate and treat the object/place poorly as well.
It is with this theory that I assume that an environment that does not look like it is being well managed can stimulate further acts of crime therefore, stimulating this perception of crime. In my neighborhood, their crime rate has been cut in half within the last decade yet this perception still remains. Therefore, efforts towards cleaning the neighborhood is advised. A place that is clean is perceived to be safe and welcoming. A place does not have to be beautiful, but perceived to be taken care of. Therefore, trash needs to be cleared off the streets and patrols will have to be seen to further manage the security and trash in the neighborhood.
The consultant also recommended that efforts towards informing the public on works of management on the neighborhood will be supportive. If the neighborhood hears of efforts in taking care of the neighborhood, then further attempts to clean the streets will be made within the neighborhood. It needs to be understood that crime, vandalism, and any other such acts are not welcome and will be persecuted so that the neighborhood will understand that they are being taken care of.
Nobody wants to live in a neighborhood that is not being taken care of. If efforts are being made, improvement will follow. Nothing will get done if nothing is being done. These improvements will not be made over night. Some neighborhoods dont change for years and years untill their neighborhood begins to see progress. We have to take responsibility for what we have. This includes ourselves and the community we live in.
My internship at a Neighborhood Business Coalition in North Minneapolis, I am researching how to change society’s perception of North Minneapolis. North Minneapolis is perceived to be a place with a high crime rate. This negative perception has affected many of the local businesses on West Broadway. People’s fear of crime prevents many to come into the neighborhood to shop or for new businesses to invest into the area. While researching perception issues of North Minneapolis, ways of improving the neighborhood while avoiding gentrification also is in need of being researched. This blog will talk about the problems of gentrification and how that might affect a business district like West Broadway.
Gentrification can be seen as redevelopment at the cost of the tenants. Gentrification is the process of renewal and rebuilding that affects the middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displace poor residents. Who are the gentrifiers? According to Gray Ayer from Zine Distro, its mostly the middle or upper middle class. “A group of people who work in the central city and patronize cultural events, restaurants and entertainment and so they wish to live close to these amenities” (Ayer3). These groups of people, often called the creative class, are well educated, highly-paid and are the group who can “survive and prosper during the new emerging age” (Florida).
There are the perceived benefits of gentrification that make it harder for others to recognize it. In a neighborhood being gentrified, what is usually noticed is the growth of businesses, wealth of the community, and increase high end amenities instead of the residents in danger of displacement. It is usually the underprivileged that becomes hidden from the public. There is correlation in race that becomes gentrified. The blacks are usually the ones who become displaced by the white affluent. (Goetz, 2010)
If West Broadway becomes a more attractive place to live, property values will increase, rents and taxes will go up, and low income populations, and those on a fixed income, including seniors, are priced out of the market leaving room for the creative class to move in and take advantage of the new area. Businesses will be affected from the increase in property values as well, which may cause many of the “mom and pop” businesses to run out of business. If new investments into North Minneapolis results in a reduction in the supply of affordable housing, the very people who had hoped to enjoy the benefits of the area may be forced to move away.
Gentrification will also impact West Broadway’s public housing. Cities in which market pressures for gentrification have been the strongest have been the most aggressive in tearing down public housing. Many of America’s public housing projects effected by gentrification become replaced by mix-use housing. Public housing projects such as Earle Village in Charlotte, NC, Techwood Homes in Atlanta, Allen Parkway Village in Houston, St Thomas in New Orleans, Cabrini-Green in Chicago and Ellen Wilson in Washington, DC, have all been demolished and been replaced by new development that has ignited significant private-sector investment in housing and commercial markets nearby (Goetz, 2010).
There is a belief that gentrification has already been happening in North Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council approved the Near Northside Master Plan in 1998 which is to create “an attractive and sustainable urban neighborhood in the Near Northside…to rebuild a mixed-income, mixed-density, culturally divers, amenity-rich neighborhood” (Hallman, 2008). There is a fear that this Master Plan means to displace the poor in North Minneapolis with the affluent.
A solution to prevent black flight from North Minneapolis is to offer housing organizations that aid people whose homes are threatened by gentrification. In Philadelphia, a program called the office of Housing and Community Development has established programs that allow low and moderate income residents to stay in neighborhoods. The Metropolitan Tenants organization in Chicago works to promote fair housing and tenant-landlord relations (Teitler, 1995). These programs worked well to slow the process of gentrification in the neighborhoods.
If gentrification was to happen in North Minneapolis, we will see a loss of mom and pop shops, displacement of the poor and underprivileged, and an increase in the creative class. Would redevelopment at the cost of the tenants be beneficial in the end if that means a safer, cleaner, and friendlier place? By providing the right support for those being gentrified can North Minneapolis improvements take on a less damaging impact, however, not everyone can shy away from the effects of gentrification.
Usually when I procrastinate on work, I fiddle around with YouTube or stalk friends on Facebook. But recently I’ve been spending a lot of my procrastinating time on researching small living. Small living refers to homes that can be 1000 square feet or less. There were some homes I found to be the size of a motor-home. Finding floor plans with a crazy layout never ceases to amaze me. It is inspiring to find homeowners that can make a small space totally livable and comfortable. It makes me think about how much space I really need.
While studying these small places, I came up with a couple of benefits to living in a small place.
First of all, it is simply cheaper. It is cheaper to furnish your place with less space. Since you cant have much furniture in a small living space, more investment can be made on the quality of furniture you get. Utility costs are also lower. You do not need as much energy to light up and warm up a small space compared to a house. Small places are also generally more affordable to rent or purchase.
Another benefit to living small is that it is sustainable. For all of those tree huggers out there, living in a small space is the thing to do. Your carbon foot print is smaller and living in a small space encourages you to spend less on extra stuff. Living small makes you more conscientious about carbon foot prints and wasteful spending.
Last but not least, a smaller home encourages you to get out of your house! It encourages you to become more social and explore your outside environment. Those living in larger estates are less likely to explore their outside environment. We are not meant to be prisoners of our own castle but to be kings of our kingdom (kingdom meaning community…).
Perhaps we need to become aware that we live in a culture that encourages us all to go BIG. The average American home take up about 2300 square feet. The average American eats about a ton of food a year. The average American generates about 20 tons of CO2-eq each year. The global average carbon footprint is about 4 tons of CO2-eq per year. There are people all around the world that gasp in horror (or envy..) to the the amount of energy, food, and space we gobble up. We live in a consumer society, we need to control ourselves and take dominion over the things we have, not the other way around.
Interchange: Coming in 2014
In summer 2012, construction will start on the Interchange, the new premier multi-modal transportation hub and community gathering space in downtown Minneapolis. Located next to Target Field, the Interchange will provide a unique gateway with a robust streetscape connecting the North Loop neighborhood to the historic Warehouse District.
The Interchange design highlights open, flexible public spaces that bring together transit and urban culture into a one-of-a-kind transit station that enhances commuters’ experience and promotes stronger neighborhoods. The Interchange will include an urban neighborhood plaza, with areas available for neighborhood bars and eateries, cultural and entertainment spaces and community events. This unique urban area will hold natural, recreational and entertainment spaces, including the Great Lawn. In the winter, steam from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center will melt snow and ice from walkways, paths and stairs.
The Great Lawn will be the heart of the Interchange. The Great Lawn will be a large green ‘stage,’ providing new opportunities for large pre-game events, community concerts, seasonal events, as well as a space for individual activities. The Great Lawn will create valuable green space and a new park for downtown, and provide 250 new parking spaces underneath.
An amphitheater and informal seating area will form The Cascade. The Cascade will be a flexible open space that will provide all year long entertainment and recreation opportunities, including a place for an informal lunch meeting between friends, street fairs or clients or an impromptu concert arena.
Opening in the spring of 2014, the Interchange will be a bustling urban park, transit station and neighborhood gathering space. The Interchange will be a one-of-a-kind destination for the region.
via The Interchange and a hat tip goes to Secrets of the City
Whenever I go to Chicago I always stop by Mitsuwa, a Japanese mall with a grocery store, book store, liquor store, bread shop, and many different types of restaurants. The bread shop has the yummiest bread ever! They have something called “shokupan” which is really thick bread slices that are so fluffy. The shop also shape their buns into cute little characters. The picture here shows a little owl clock made out of bread. Yum Yum! If only we had a bread shop like that in Minneapolis. If we do, I need to find it!!