More density could be good for city's image

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February 10, 2014
By: Philip Dacey
Philip Dacey

As someone who recently moved to Minneapolis after an eight-year residency on Manhattan's Upper West Side, I have to say in response to David Brauer's cautionary column concerning the mayoral goal of a half-million residents here that I can testify that 3 million in a much smaller space — the borough of Manhattan occupies roughly half the square miles that Minneapolis does — is real density and great livability.  

One-half million people spread over Minneapolis is hardly "density" to worry about.  David Brauer clearly knows more about the many issues related to urban development than I do, and although I surely can learn a lot from him I have to cast my unreservedly enthusiastic vote for the vision of Mayor Hodges and her predecessor.

A pertinent story: When I told an acquaintance of mine in New York that I was moving to Minneapolis because my partner did not want to live full-time in Manhattan and I did not want to live full-time in her little town in Minnesota — a town of about 4,000 people in the Minnesota River Valley — and that Minneapolis was our compromise, he said, "Compromise?  But Minneapolis IS a little town in Minnesota."

Yes, he was being a stereotypically arrogant New Yorker, but I wonder if there isn't also a stereotypical Minnesota suspiciousness in the face of a big-city ethos, what Whitman called the "countless crowds" that were to him "glories strung like beads" and should be to us as well.

Philip Dacey
Uptown Neighborhood (ECCO)