Donjek Projects: On Schedule. Blog Posts: Behind Schedule.

There is no avoiding some kind of confession here. I have neglected to share new content in this space for weeks. The good news is, it's been the creation of this very content for specific projects that has precluded any discussion on the Cents of Place. I'm interested in your views on several of these, and so I will summarize a few projects by highlighting the key questions raised. Let's connect to talk further.

Brookings Metropolitan Business Plan Initiative

Management of the initiative's process and Brook2production of the Minneapolis Saint Paul metropolitan business plan continues to progress. Along with members of the leadership team, I am preparing for our region's presentation of a plan to an international summit of metro areas to be held in Chicago in December. Represented will be Minneapolis Saint Paul, Seattle, Cleveland, Munich, Barcelona, Seoul, and Torino. A few questions particularly present right now include:

  • How do private and public institutions adjust to the reality of a metro-centric economy?
  • How can a climate of economic and budget stress make transitions more (and not less) politically acceptable?

West Bank LRT Implementation Study

Donjek was retained early this year as part of a team including Ellerbe Becket, Close Landscape Architecture, Collage Architecture, the Lander Group and Kimley-Horn Associates to examine redevelopment opportunities in a long underutilized area adjacent to the University of Minnesota and downtown Minneapolis: Washington Avenue on the campus' West Bank.

I've posted about the potential of this area before; with the street's conversion to pedestrian transit mall on the other side of the Mississippi River, the West Bank's section of Washington Avenue is poised for transformation. It's convergence of high transit access, adjacency to the University and downtown, and concentration of entrepreneurs and immigrants means the sky is the limit for the future of Cedar-Riverside and the West Bank. Recent questions:

  • The scale of change in transportation infrastructure and land use is likely to be more dramatic for the Central Corridor LRT line than the region's first line, the Hiawatha. How do public agencies and community members approach expectations and consensus building for the future?
  • Car parking continues to drive debate in such redevelopment discussions. Who is leading the way in thinking about conversion of car parking infrastructure to other uses as cars shrink in size and number?

Donjek has also recently been retained to represent an investor and institutional user as they explore sites for an educational facility, and is working on a team led by TKDA to evaluate considerations around commercial district planning for a Minnesota township. On a volunteer basis, I am also co-chairing a task force focused on the dramatic potential of the West Midway area of Saint Paul, where industrial and commercial land use, heavy and light rail infrastructure, and a growing neighborhood are converging. 

It's all good news and good work, and I pledge to report it more faithfully on the Cents of Place! Thanks for reading.

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