Saturday, December 15, 2007

Messy Urbanism

St. Paul and Minneapolis are blessed with what I'll call "messy urbanism." When urbanism is messy, you get great places like the Overflow Cafe on University Avenue, in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Prospect Park. The cafe abuts a business park and what appears to be an impound lot. And behind those buildings lie the towering grain silos and railroad tracks--remnants of our agricultural/industrial past.

Messy urbanism brings us the sleek, modern, Miami-looking Bookmen Stacks. These lofts are tucked between freeways and old brick warehouse buildings in the northern edge of Minneapolis' warehouse district.

Messy urbanism isn't afraid of disrupting order. It puts new next to old; modern next to traditional; industrial next to residential. This is the organic way that cities grow. It gives us the opportunity to discover surprises in the most unlikely places. It keeps things from being boring. Bring on the mess!

Image: Grain elevators, Martha Duerr
Image: Bookmen Stacks,


Anonymous said...

Hi, I enjoy reading about your dedication to the cityscape. I am also a "crazy urbanist" as friends calls me, and have been reading urban design and urbanism in six years, dreaming about reseaching in the subject. Last night, I saw the movie "Fargo" where they mentioned "Twin cities" all the time..thanks for a great blogg.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the term "messy Urbanism" is it from a theory or your own?