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Making It After All– On Social Media for Community Design and Minneapolis

I un-ironically wear a raspberry beret sometimes in the winter, and yes, I do throw it up in the air and tell the world that I’m going to make it after all. I was already cliche Minneapolis before I even set foot there the first time.

Two of my favorite speaking opportunities have been in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. Specifically Minneapolis. Let’s relive some moments from my first visit, in 2014.

I was joined by two of my besties and we ate and saw some cool things. Plus, I remember vividly, that it was one of the first days that I had to wear a sweater and my wool coat in the fall of that year. Which made it pretty easy to stand here and made me pretty mad that it was so cold my regular raspberry beret wasn’t sufficient.

Kristen standing next to TV Land MTM statue when it was on Nicolet Mall in September 2014 . Photo by Graham Sheridan

Kristen standing next to TV Land’s Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards statue when it was on Nicolet Mall in September 2014 . Photo by Graham Sheridan

(Ok, it was still a raspberry headband. And practically every parody of this scene results in the hat falling down on the ground or being picked up and stolen…)

For those of you who still don’t understand this double-reference, here’s the original Mary Tyler Moore title sequence and here’s Oprah imitating it and talking about why the character of Mary Richards as portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore is an icon, especially to feminist media types like myself. And do I really need to link to this. (Most of the originals on YouTube are muted. You can purchase the original here.

The main theme of the Twin Cities for me, through all the things tied to it (MTM, Prince, the loss of Philandro Castile), is resilience and making it after all. Sadly, Castile and Prince did not, but thanks to the spirit of MTM’s character, we have Oprah and in turn we have a bunch of us out here, making content and owning our own things. Teaching people how to be a better community, as I did in this shot below in 2014:

Presenting on being a Strong Citizen at the 2014 Strong Towns Gathering in Minneapolis. Photo by Ed Efurt

Presenting on being a Strong Citizen at the 2014 Strong Towns Gathering in Minneapolis. Photo by Ed Erfurt

and I was about to do this year in this shot. on telling your story and the tools to do so:

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Another theme of the weekend was seriously just woman power. The group I was meeting with, the Association of Community Design, was powered by more than a handful of women and nice supportive men. In the design, development and governance conversation, you just don’t see that too often. Here’s a bit of our group, as we were wrapping up a weekend, that we spent just being present.

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Want to read my presentation? Go here. Stop and listen to it below:

And the communication checklist for designers is here.

I also ran into more woman rail fans. That world has been even harder to crack the glass ceiling in, but later this afternoon, I rode these streetcars:

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That middle image shows a woman driver, who took the opportunity to highlight the history of how women in World War II often drove streetcars. That last image is my new Como-Harriet line T-shirt, one of the many clothing bargains I got while in Minneapolis. Speaking of clothing and bargains. Yes, I went to the mothership. The mothership of City Targets:

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And because I’m that urbanist who admits I’m a mall rat and quotes Victor Gruen as a defense we went here.

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As you know, my urbanism was shaped by my dad. My dad and I often went to the Four Seasons Town Centre and the late Carolina Circle Mall in Greensboro. I was raised and grew up in the 1990s, which was the high era of bigger is better suburbia. It was also the best era of Nickelodeon. And I loved Legos as a kid, still do. Especially, when you see awesome creations like this:

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I also went bargain hunting at New York and Company, to the left of this picture, which hands down is still my favorite adult era mall store. I have to give them credit for making a dress I now own in five iterations.

If all other enclosed malls die and this one stays, then we will be ok. It will fulfill it’s role as a tourist attraction. It was disappointing that not all the existing department stores were here, that the IKEA was across the street and that there was a tax on the clothing here, unlike in other parts of Minneapolis, including at that mothership Target. One bonus is its rail accessible. Same with the airport on the same line. This is what you see when you get off at the mall.

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And as we end this time of fangirlling and making it after all, let me leave you with a few recommendations of things and places to do in Minneapolis.

I felt safe, and I felt like this could be a place that I could thrive professionally. But then again, I was staying at the hotel attached to the IDS Center and that probably had something to do with it.

On a more serious note, I have been told that efforts are being made to incorporate more people in the Twin Cities society, especially by the arts community. However, it was noted that residential segregation was still very high and that, along with the issues surrounding the police shootings in the area, this knocks down the Twin Cities.

The high points? Light rail to the airport and a handful of major tourist points,regular bus service to a number of ethnic enclaves (which while have great food, shouldn’t be so segregated), artist resources and those tax breaks on clothing, grocery and other necessities!.

One last picture, as I left town on the Blue Line.

Photo by Malcolm Kenton

Photo by Malcolm Kenton

I’m Kristen. I’ve written here about cities and places and how we can make them better for almost 6 years. You can learn more about me here. And you can follow me here, here and here.

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