Back from Berlin - Last week I was in Berlin covering the World Architecture Festival (WAF) for World-Architects. I had a little bit of free time to venture about the city, s...
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Skyways in Minnesota: Necessary or a city killer?
It's a debate I had just the other day with my wife. We were walking through downtown Minneapolis on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, worrying about the future of our city's core shopping district. I wanted to take the skyway. She wanted to take the sidewalk. Skyways killed the vibrancy of downtown Minneapolis, she said. C'mon, I replied, it's Minnesota. We'll freeze without them.
Jay Walljasper has also been thinking about our lack of an urban fabric in downtown Minneapolis. In an op-ed piece in the Star Tribune, Walljasper argues that downtown St. Paul is more alive in the cold months than its bigger twin because of outdoor skating and the Winter Carnival. He also quotes Jan Gehl, an "urban-livability consultant" (that's a cool job) as saying, "When you glass in the city, you eliminate the 'bad' days but also all the 'good' days. That is too much of a price to pay. You miss the fresh air, the street life. You may have 20 bad days a year when you want to stay indoors, but 200 good ones you miss. I say you make the city as good as possible for the good days, and that will carry it through on the bad days." (Gehl is pictured at right above, with Helle SoHolt of Gehl Architects in Copenhagen.)
What do you think?