Comment on the Minneapolis Saint Paul Metro Business Plan

ProspectusCoverLast week, Mayors Chris Coleman of Saint Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis took the stage as part of the Global Metro Summit, an event held to elevate the metro-scale business plans developed by thinkers in Minneapolis Saint Paul, Seattle and Cleveland, in conjunction with the Brookings Institution. The event (video and print materials available here) provided an opportunity for these three U.S. regions, as well as counterparts from Barcelona, Munich, Torino and Seoul, to highlight the importance of approaching economic development on a metropolitan scale.

I have served as the project manager of Minneapolis Saint Paul's role in this work (see a previous piece about the work), and continue to find the idea of business planning to be an effective way to analyze strengths and weaknesses in those elements that differentiate those regions that thrive.

The draft plan explores how fresh, disruptive ideas are developed, passed through networks, cross-applied and used to create businesses and jobs. It considers to what degree all students – young and older – are able to access education and training opportunities, and transfer these skills to a workplace setting. It addresses the networks that comprise "clusters" among industries or among people involved in the region's high concentration of business headquarters, and how the region's systems and development pattern (transportation, housing, open space) serve or undermine competitiveness.

I hope you'll take a look at the materials. Please take time to look at these products and share your response. Specific questions about content may be directed to me at, and comments or changes may be sent to Snezhana Bessonov at Urban Land Institute – Minnesota, at The documents are: