Futons, Fabric, Yarn, and Irony

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While exploring Cedar-Riverside, I was astonished to see a luxury futon store in the midst of the neighborhood’s many ethnic businesses. While the windows of Al Karama and Sagal, the two stores next to Depth of Field Futons, are covered in advertisements for a cheap international phone service, DoF displays a futon that would barely fit a kid in elementary school yet costs $837. Adding to the irony, one can see the reflections of Malabari Kitchen, Riverside Plaza, while they admire opulent futons. I have a difficult time imagining that many in Cedar-Riverside’s immigrant population could afford to shop at Depth of Field, and thus I find its presence troubling. Does the store’s presence indicate depressed commercial real estate values that could lead to commerce-driven gentrification? Is there an increasing number of individuals moving to the area who can afford such expensive futons, indicating residential gentrification? All I can say for certain is that I won’t be shopping at Depth of Field. 

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Old and New Near U.S. Bank Stadium

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Approaching U.S. Bank Stadium on the Green Line, I was immediately struck by the mix of buildings located nearby—specifically, the contrast between older, seemingly run-down buildings and the many new apartments and office buildings. Many of these historic brick buildings are for sale, and I wonder how long it will be—if ever—before they are torn down and replaced by more new apartment complexes.

Minnesotans’ Strange RelationShip with U.S. Bank Stadium

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Having heard the opinions of many Minnesotans on U.S. Bank Stadium, I find it fascinating that by far the most common complaint about the building is that it allegedly fits in terribly with the Minneapolis skyline. To be sure, many Minnesotans like the stadium, and many more despise it because they consider the venue a waste of money. Yet the predominant complaint is not around the stadium being an unworthy investment—it has to do with U.S. Bank’s prominence in the skyline. I have noticed a similar trend in Seattle, Washington. Many Seattleites I have talked to dislike Amazon primarily due to the impact the company’s construction has had on changing the physical landscape of the city, rather than because Amazon’s rapid growth has rapidly gentrified Seattle. While these are generalizations, reactions to construction in the Twin Cities and Seattle demonstrate just how meaningful physical landscapes—and skylines in particular—are to city residents.

Empty Public Land

Situated right in front of the MIA, this park was seemingly unoccupied when we walked past it. Perhaps it was the time of day, but the lack of humans and outward positioning of benches here presented some interesting questions as to the purpose and functionality of this public space. Are the benches positioned such that passerby might feel welcomed into the park, and do they truly feel welcoming?

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Human Systems

This mural in the Midtown Global market stood out to me during the field study. I appreciate the movement of goods and people depicted here, indicating that these peoples and processes are what tie this specific community together. It does a nice job of recognizing what the community is built upon and who is included in it.

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