Love Thy Neighborhood

Love Thy Neighborhood: Introducing a new column about urban and community development

Macalester, unlike similar small liberal arts colleges, enjoys the privilege of being located within a major metropolitan area. With the two largest cities in Minnesota at our disposal, the opportunities students enjoy because of our location are limitless.

This year, I’m writing a new column that aims to discuss community and urban development on campus, in the immediate Mac-Groveland neighborhood, and in the wider Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

More than discussing the newest developments in the area, though, this column will cover a broad range of topics, from providing informational pieces to dispelling uncertainties about exploring the cities by mass transit to providing architectural critiques of developments in the neighborhood. The goal of this column is simply to foster a conversation about the Twin Cities and make them more accessible and easy to understand for Mac Weekly readers.

Suggestions for future topics are welcome, but already in the coming weeks I plan to cover topics including Whole Foods’ plans to move to the corner of Selby and Snelling (where the Associated Bank building now stands). That building will be torn down and replaced with a new and larger Whole Foods store and luxury apartments.
I’ll also write about exciting developments including French Meadow’s new location on Grand Avenue; the opening of the Green Line on University Avenue next summer; and the planned changes in bus schedules, including the proposed Snelling Avenue bus rapid transit line.

While much is happening in the neighborhood, the focus of this column will include the exploration of other neighborhoods like Cathedral Hill in St. Paul, Dinkytown, the North Loop and more. Hopefully, the column will bring a greater awareness of the wonderful neighborhoods that the Twin Cities have to offer.

I’d also like to begin a dialogue about public space at Macalester. Over the past several years Macalester has seen an unprecedented renovation and expansion of our facilities. With the ongoing renovation of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center and renovation of the first floor of the library, conversation about place and space at Macalester has been noticeably absent. I hope that this column can be a forum for a discussion about how space affects our community here, as well as how we can improve upon it.

Conversations regarding these areas are integral to Macalester’s place as a premier small liberal arts college in an urban location. We have an opportunity to learn about, discuss and explore the unique metropolitan area we live in, and I truly look forward to this conversation.

September 13, 2013

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