Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Parks, Minneapolis Public Schools, Density, Zoning, etc.
Didier
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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby Didier » July 2nd, 2019, 9:25 pm

A big reason Cleveland and Cincinnati have better visibility than Columbus is because the Indians, Red, Browns and Bengals. The baseball teams have been around basically as long as the sport has, and the Browns pre-date the Super Bowl.

Columbus, from afar, is easy to mistake for a peer to cities like Madison or Ann Arbor — a bigger college town but not a big city. Though in recent years Columbus seems to be gaining more visibility as a "major league" city among the likes of Kansas City, Milwaukee, Austin, Salt Lake City, etc. Although, honestly, part of the reason I even know that is because of the occasional Columbus connections to this forum.

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby Multimodal » July 2nd, 2019, 11:05 pm

seamonster wrote:
July 2nd, 2019, 3:51 am
This quote: "With a population density of 3,914 people per square mile, Columbus dwarves cities like Anchorage and Jacksonville."
BTW: Minneapolis population density is approx 7,000 people per square mile.
4,000 people per square mile is about the average density of a first ring suburb here.

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Nick
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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby Nick » July 3rd, 2019, 1:43 pm

Can’t seem to find the comment now, but something that was weirdly singed into my brain five or six years ago was someone commenting on one of my streets.mn posts where I referred to us as a “medium-sized” metro area. The name on the comment was something like “mpls/stp 16th biggest” and the comment was taking issue with me saying we’re medium-sized because we’re the 16th biggest, and then a “check your facts” for good measure.

I like being higher up on lists too, but this type of thing attracts a weird person.

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby PLGTMD » July 4th, 2019, 9:04 am

It's very easy to get caught up in the numbers, but at the end of the day, Minneapolis just isn't a very large city, and that's okay.
People like to mention that MSP is the 16th largest metro area in the country, but this doesn't seem like much of a bragging point to me. How many people can name the 16th largest metro area in China? It's bigger than Minneapolis, but most people outside of China probably haven't heard of it. How about the 10th largest in India, or the 5th largest in Russia? I'd be hard pressed to find an American -- or somebody from virtually anywhere in the world -- who has anything to say about Nizhny Novgorod (although granted, it's smaller than Minneapolis).

Having brought friends from Boston (where I currently live) and San Francisco to Minneapolis, they were flabbergasted at how a place with such little street life and so much empty space could be considered a major city. And the thing is, Boston and San Francisco aren't even that big. I've met people from New York City, Mexico City, London, and various parts of Asia who regard Boston as essentially a large village.
The truth is something more like that Minneapolis is a big city by midwestern standards (yes, it's notably larger than Milwaukee or Columbus, but that's not saying much), a medium-sized city by national standards, and a small city by global standards.

That doesn't mean that it's bad or that it doesn't matter. It's just that if we're going to brag about something, let's make it something that Minneapolis actually excels at, like its parks, lakes, rivers, biking, and some of the art, music, and architecture, rather than presenting obvious insecurities about size and relevance.
Plus, even if Minneapolis isn't that big in the grand scheme of things, part of the joy of following development in Minneapolis is that it's on its way to become something much more resembling a major city. Maybe in 50 years it'll be more comparable in terms of density and "city-ness" to some of the cities on the coasts now, and we get to see that process unfold in front of us.

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby mulad » July 4th, 2019, 7:36 pm

These days, I prefer to use the Census Bureau's "urban area" populations when comparing different large regions, since that's based on more fine-grained data that's more consistently filtered, while MSAs use county boundaries that include a lot more exurban sprawl and cause more variation due to the ways old political boundaries were drawn.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... rban_areas

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby karlshea » July 4th, 2019, 11:09 pm

Great link, that's good to know!

Didier
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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby Didier » July 5th, 2019, 10:50 am

The population comparisons from PLGTMD are interesting, though I think focusing on total population numbers kind of misses the essence of the discussion being had here. The metropolitan area surrounding Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo has roughly 4x more population than the Twin Cities metro, according to Wikipedia, but there's no real point in comparing Kinshasa vs Minneapolis.

The China comparison is also a bit cherry picked. It's true, not many Americans could point out Dongguan on a map, even though it'd be the fourth biggest city in the U.S. (It's No. 8 in China.) But if you use Europe as the sample instead, the cities that rank comparably to the Twin Cities include places like Munich, Budapest, Lisbon and Brussels. I don't think many people here would thumb their nose at being the Munich of the United States.

What PLGTMD seems to be getting at more broadly is the "feel" of cities. Boston, in addition to being bigger than Minneapolis, definitely "feels" a lot bigger, too, due to the population density. At the same time, I would have thought Calgary was similar in size to Minneapolis based on feel, but it's actually more like 1/3 the population. That's the case with a lot of European cities, too. They are more urban in nature, and thus feel more cosmopolitan and "big."

Minneapolis has a few bigger drawbacks in urbanity. One is that our downtown can feel too much like a moonscape. But I'd say an even bigger problem is that downtown is poorly connected to the surrounding neighborhoods, specifically the Uptown area and to an extent even the U. It's almost incomprehensible to think of some tourist coming to Minneapolis, staying at the downtown Hilton, and spending a day exploring by foot and ending up at Bde Maka Ska. That kind of walk day would be totally reasonable in a place like Boston, San Francisco, etc. Minneapolis you'd either have to cross major roads on foot, figure out local bus routes or make a pretty deliberate bike ride. So in this regard, it makes sense that someone from a bigger city might come here and think it feels kind of small.

That said, Minneapolis is undoubtedly a major city, with a respectable if not massive population to go with a business and creative community that punches above its weight. Our downtown, also, while not extraordinarily vibrant on the street level is very impressive, and connections between downtown and NE Minneapolis continue to improve. Plus, our parkland is as good as anywhere in the country. And this is what I think gets to the essence of the Columbus discussion. Cities like Columbus, Milwaukee, Kansas City are fine, but Minneapolis is clearly a step above. And then Seattle is a step above us, and several other U.S. cities are a step above Seattle.

So I don't think we have anything to apologize for. Nobody is suggesting Minneapolis is New York City, nor that it's Kinshasa. The point is more than we're a very respectable mid-size big city, and all things considered I think Minneapolis has a lot of advantages over our peer cities in this country.

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby QuietBlue » July 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm

PLGTMD wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 9:04 am
Having brought friends from Boston (where I currently live) and San Francisco to Minneapolis, they were flabbergasted at how a place with such little street life and so much empty space could be considered a major city. And the thing is, Boston and San Francisco aren't even that big.
San Francisco is a good example of this when you compare it to San Jose (which has more people, but definitely has less of a big-city feel).

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby amiller92 » July 8th, 2019, 10:09 am

This city "feel" we're talking about is largely whether the city was mostly already developed before the arrival of cars or not. Cities that feel "big" aren't built around cars scales. Parts of Minneapolis weren't, but we did a whole lot to retrofit them into car scales.

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Re: Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Postby trkaiser » July 8th, 2019, 1:42 pm

QuietBlue wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm
PLGTMD wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 9:04 am
Having brought friends from Boston (where I currently live) and San Francisco to Minneapolis, they were flabbergasted at how a place with such little street life and so much empty space could be considered a major city. And the thing is, Boston and San Francisco aren't even that big.
San Francisco is a good example of this when you compare it to San Jose (which has more people, but definitely has less of a big-city feel).
After only a quick visit a decade ago, I was just in San Francisco for a week. I was so taken aback by how big it felt -- when I stepped out of the cab downtown I kinda had a similar feeling to my first time in New York. So many midrises in all directions. I was in Portland the week before, and was surprised how small that city felt -- but still delightful. My god the trains...


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