Not in my backyard

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When compared to the adjacent Carlton Lofts, the Lyric at Carlton Place does not strike an overly imposing figure. However, it feels somewhat out of place with the low structures of the industrial complex/office park that is across the street. Was the installation of these self-proclaimed “luxury apartments” an attempt to transform the image of this neighborhood? If so, the multiple vacant storefronts across the street have not yet received the memo.

Ripples of Development

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Are nearby businesses feeling the ripples of investment and development from the Selby and Snelling intersection? After the completion of a combined Whole Foods and upscale apartment complex, several other lots in the vicinity are getting a facelift as well. A long-vacant former Starbucks was recently transformed into a new bakery, and within days of each other, two building projects sprung up within spitting distance from each other on opposite sides of Snelling and Hague intersection.

A Wall of Icons

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In downtown Minneapolis, just a few blocks away from the junction of the green and blue light rail lines sits the iconic 1st Ave. Theater. For many St. Paul and Minneapolis locals this is one of the very first venues they will attend a concert at. On the flip-side for many local artists, performing at first Avenue is seen as the first step on the road to making it big. As can be seen in the picture, some of the very greatest musicians of all time such as Prince, REM and Nirvana have all performed at First Avenue.

US Bank Stadium

IMG_0749.JPGThe U.S. Bank Stadium, with its surrounding infrastructure, embodies newness and sleekness with its shiny, multi-faceted, enormous facade. I’ve never felt as though a piece of architecture has made this much of a “statement” – but the U.S. Bank Stadium represents the Twin Cities’ commitment to technological advancement and global recognition.

Growth Machines at Play

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One block north of University Avenue just behind the Wright Building sits this empty plot of land. Or rather in till recently it was an empty plot of land that was once used to park trucks while they waited to be loaded from the surrounding warehouses. It is now going to be turned into new apartment buildings just a short walk from the Raymond light rail station. As this sign shows the design of the building is similar to that of the lyric and other more modern apartment buildings. The side of the banner shows all of the financial contributors to this development.

Mill City: Bridging the Past, Present and Future

Past:

Graffiti on the inner walls of the area connecting the museum to other buildings

Past: The graffiti reflects the period in the 1990’s, when the industrial complex was largely abandoned to the homeless and wandering. It shows how the purpose of a building can change over time, and has layers of stories and personal experiences. It is a marker of transition from a booming economic prosperity of Minneapolis to an ignored economic area and deteriorated neighborhood. It is a multi-layered, and quite contradicting story. As Cosgrove said, the “landscape as a cultural text… offers the possibility of simultaneous and equally valid different readings” (p.123).

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An upward view of the contrast between the old factory building and the modern addition

Present: As our tour guide mentioned, the Minnesota Historical Society has invested time and capital into preserving these historical sites. Not only have they preserved the way they are used, but also the aesthetic and physical purpose. I believe this is a productive way of bring the past and present together, as we are constantly reminded of the wealth of history in the location.

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Automatic door activation control next to the entrance of Mill City Museum

Future: Often certain landscape is accessible to some and not others. The reason for exclusion may vary from gender, economic status to physical ability. The door activation control was something that I had not noticed back in New Zealand and Korea, both because I was less conscious of this issue and because there are more inaccessible infrastructure. Especially in Korea, public landscape can be very (physically able) male-dominated. Thus, to look to the future, public landscapes need to more actively represent excluded cultures.

Past, Present and Future

Mill City Museum Ruin Courtyard

Exposed Wall and Girders Create the Boundaries of the Mill City Museum

This picture allows us to step into the past by showing us the size and building materials used in the early Mills in Minneapolis. The preserved walls and girders stand as a reminder both to the city’s industrial roots and very fire that left this area in ruins. It is a great example of landscape as an artifact, as it is quite literally an artifact of the area’s past.

Outer Wall of Mill City Museum and Surrounding Sidwalk

Outer Wall of Mill City Museum and Surrounding Sidewalk

This picture is a great example of the present because it shows how the area surrounding the old mill has been updated with modern utilities like a bike rack and pedestrian crossing sign and even shows a mini van driving by. I chose this to be an example of landscape as place because the bike racks, restored pedestrian boardwalk and park across the street show how people have designed this place to be a destination and pedestrian friendly.

View of Mill District from Stone Arch Bridge

View of the Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater and Peek-A-Boo view of US Bank Stadium from Stone Arch Bridge

This is an example of the future of the city and the Mill District. The strongest piece of evidence pointing towards the future is the peek-a-boo view of the Minnesota Viking’s new stadium in the background between the Guthrie and the Gold Medal Flour stacks. The bow view of the brand new stadium is a reminder that the city is growing as shiny new buildings are increasingly common. In fifty years, it would be great to take this same picture and see how much the background has filled in with skyline. I chose this photo to be landscape as ideology because of the “bow” jutting into the middle of the picture. The design choice, even if not intentional, of making the Viking’s stadium look like a viking boat only goes to further the ideology of civic ownership and interest in the team.

 

Past, Present, Future

This picture represents Minneapolis' future. It shows a bike path and a road that almost seems to converge on each other. I think that in the future not only will alternative forms of transportation, like biking, become more common, but that the road will return to a shared space, not only for cars.

This picture represents Minneapolis’ future. It shows a bike path and a road that almost seems to converge on each other. I think that in the future not only will alternative forms of transportation, like biking, become more common, but that the road will return to a shared space, not only for cars.

This picture represents Minneapolis' present. It combines the built environment, represented by the metal and the bridge in the background and the natural greenscapes and plants, represented by the goldenrod in the picture, which has grown to overtake what was once industrial.

This picture represents Minneapolis’ present. It combines the built environment, represented by the metal and the bridge in the background and the natural greenscapes and plants, represented by the goldenrod in the picture, which has grown to overtake what was once industrial.

This picture represents Minneapolis' past. It shows the Gold Medal flour sign, which represents the milling industry that drove Minneapolis' initial growth as a city.

This picture represents Minneapolis’ past. It shows the Gold Medal flour sign, which represents the milling industry that drove Minneapolis’ initial growth as a city.