Thursday, February 02, 2006

Future Predictions on Urban Development of the Twin Cities

Well, I am back!! How long did I go without Bloging? Three days I think. In that amount of time I have been working on my studies, however, I have also been playing Halo 2 a sequel to the Xbox classic FPS (First Person Shooter for you non-gamers) Halo.

As I mentioned in my last post, the topic that I wanted to address is attempting to predict what the Twin Cities will look like in the next 10, 20, and even 30 years based on current trends that we (as residents of the Twin Cities, and students in the field of Urban Studies) have observed with the condo/loft boom in both downtowns and the investments being made in critical infrastructure. Other issues include the region’s paranoia of height in new developments, and the ever-increasing amount of backward thinking and NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) that has been discussed heavily in both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Current issues and development:
Currently the Twin Cities (along with the rest of the country) is facing many challenges. For the nation, we are experiencing massive increases on the cost of energy and the amount of energy that the United State’s consumes. In the recent state of the Union address, President George W. Bush has called upon the United States to become less dependent on foreign oil from the Middle East and have a revolution or Manhattan project of new and reusable sources of energy. This initiative should’ve been done years ago and a part of me feels that the President is trying to save his numbers by telling the public what we want to hear, but in the end will not deliver instead put us further and further into debt and dependence on oil.

The Twin Cities are facing issues of massive congestion and a lack of investment in critical infrastructure such as our highways. Many auto owners have noticed the huge potholes in many of our highways and city streets that have been poorly patched. Many drivers are also upset on the 394 exclusive lanes that MNDOT botched over the summer. However, all of these issues have a common cause and solution…that is funding. However, the state and local municipalities do not have it thanks to the efforts of the Republican Party and their cronies of “No New Taxes” famously phrased by the current Governor Tim Pawlenty that will be up for re-election this coming year.

Now that we have some of the current issues, let’s dive into the future!!
Note: Current age 21
Important dates that are left out:
November- 2006: Democrats take back the Governor’s seat of Minnesota from thee grasps of the Republican Party and bring back the quality of life that Minnesota deserves.
November- 2008: The Bush Presidency is over. Democrats reclaim the White House with anybody but the following: Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, or Joe Lieberman. In a stunning turn of events John McCain is elected and becomes one of the best things to happen to both Republicans/Democrats by being a great moderate President kicking the evangelicals out of the Republican Party and brining in more allies to assist with Iraq.
(Events are fictional, but I really hope they happen.)

2016- My age 31.
Many of the Transportation projects assigned by the Metropolitan Council have been finished including the Northstar Commuter Rail Line that has been operating with fare box recovery for seven years since its completion in 2009. The Central Corridor, a major source of controversy in the years 2000-2006, was completed in 2012 following the success of both Hiawatha and the completion of Northstar and over the four years since has become the highest source of Ridership in the Twin Cities metro and a great catalyst for development in the Midway area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Worth mentioning are the new TOD developments such as the Super Target in Midway, the Rondo Community Outreach Library & University and Dale Street Apartments (completed in 2006), and the Penfield towers just as you enter downtown St. Paul.

The Twin Cities continue to add population, though we are still far from our 1 million new residents as estimated by the Metropolitan Council back in 2000. With the added residents come new pressures on development. One of the areas in particular is the Franklin Avenue area across from Augsburg and the University of Minnesota West Bank campus. The 2-3 story walk up apartments; have been replaced by taller and newer towers following the success of New Urbanism oriented developments in the early 2000’s. Students who attend Augsburg and the University of Minnesota mostly rent these apartments. In the works are plans to take back the open space that exists over I-94 and reconnecting the two sides that were bisected when I-94 was built in the 1950’s. Similar plans are in the works for St. Paul and the bridges that are over I-94 near downtown St. Paul and the Capitol.

Prospect Park joins the register of Historical Neighborhoods in 2013 and a Light Rail Line or Streetcar is proposed for Hennepin Avenue/Larpentuar Avenue with a station at the State Fair.

Talks are progressing with the State and Federal Government on the possibility of a High Speed Rail connection from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Duluth and then South to Chicago to connect with the new High-Speed Rail system that has recently been completed on the East Coast and is spreading to the rest of the nation as the Air Industry continues to face financial and security issues.

2026- Age 41
As we approach our estimate of 1 Million residents, there are concerns that the Twin Cities are becoming too dense. This leads to another outward movement of many residents along the well-used transportation corridors that were constructed in the 2010’s. The High Speed Rail connection has been made between the Twin Cities and Chicago.
Minnesota and the Midwest have become very powerful states after the short “Water conflict” in 2020. The Western states attempted to break away from the Union and take the Midwest’s preciouse fresh water resources. The Conflict is ended when General Rory Hanlin and his elite forces known as "the dirty sconies" kill the leaders of the seperatists allowing Union forces to retake the Western states. Casualties in the western states are low and water is still babdly needed ,however, desalinization plants have helped the west keep its residents, many have moved out of areas such as Phoenix that have dried up due to the effects of Global warming and because of the effects of the uprising.
Minneapolis now resembles Vancouver in design with many amenities such as public paths and an award winning transportation system. Of course, the public park system is still one of the best in the nation.

2036 and beyond- Age 51 and older
I finish my term as the Governor of Minnesota and settle into the life of a retired developer touring the world and viewing cities and the developments they are building and facing. Human’s still haven’t made it to Mars yet, but we are getting closer to Fusion technology though the process still requires a lot of resources. Recently the Military has taken over the state of Nevada and has deemed the entire desert (Las Vegas was destroyed in the “water conflict” along with all its fountains) as a place for the research of Fusion technology. With tensions increasing between China, Korea (Kim Jung Il Cloned himself and is still in power unopposed by any nation), The United States, The EU, and the Hamas controlled Middle East, the world is moving closer to destruction. With that the United States has begun developing massive underground cities in the mountains, in the event of a Nuclear World War some will survive.

Inhabitants of Moon 1-the first colony and city to be established on the moon, has increased production of commercial and Military spaceships and has released that they are close to developing faster than light travel with the use of Hyperspace Gates by the year 2050.

Back to Reality:
Okay Okay, the last part I totally made up. In fact the entire thing I made up. But it was a lot of fun writing and speculating on the future. Probably because I read too much Sci-fi. Anyway, let me know what I can improve or what theories there are out there in the world of Bloggerdome.

P.S. It’s good to be back. Next post, Central Corridor…No tunnel, No Train.


Kristen said...

Hmm...Governor Andrew...

(And there was no mention of me in your 'future') ;)

Just Kidding :D

Kristen said...

I got my wireless card to work! :D

Thanks for all the help! Now I just have to wait for my brand new hard drive!

Thanks for a wonderful weekend sweetie!

Wm said...

I enjoyed your prognostication. Esp. the Kim Jong Il clones and the secession...

I think you're right about a lot of things: Franklin Ave area, the train/tunnel problem.

In particular, I'm most excited by the recovering the spaces over the freeways bit, though I fear a project like that would end up like 'The Big Dig' in Boston. Though, that'd be my one overarching wish: to turn the interstates into tunnels where they go through the city, and claim the space on top of them for parkland/housing...

Anyway, nice site.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the comment. I think you're doing a great job with your site too. Altough mine isn't dedicated to Urban related events (it almost should be) it is a topic I write about a lot.
I agree with your comment on the "Big Dig" idea. I don't know about you, but I watch a lot of Sci-Fi. In the movie I-Robot (set about 30 years in the future) Chicago has this massive Interstate basically in tunnles or underground. There is no way in this universe that Chicago could have a project like this built and operating in the amount of time between now and then. I always find that funny in sci-fi.

Rory Hanlin said...

Yeah! Dirty sconies rule!

I actually agree with your early predictions about the midwest and the T.C.

I don't know if the dems can take control of congress, but we can all hope.