Katherine Kersten: Density in a time of coronavirus

Do you trust your "New Urbanist" overlords? 

We are all doing what we can to spread out during the coronavirus pandemic. Staying healthy depends on minimizing unwanted contact with other people — standing 6 feet apart in grocery stores, wiping off elevator buttons and avoiding public transit, where we may find ourselves cheek-by-jowl with a wheezing stranger.

But if spreading out is a challenge in the Twin Cities today, just wait until the next pandemic hits.

The urban planners at the Metropolitan Council, who increasingly dictate how we live, have a vision for our future that is stampeding us in precisely the wrong direction.

That vision is laid out in “Thrive MSP 2040,” the Met Council’s master plan for metrowide development. Its “New Urbanist” ideology demands that, going forward, we increasingly will live on top of one another.

The holy grail for the Met Council’s urban planners, and their allies at the Minneapolis City Council, is “densification.” They seek to engineer a world in which we increasingly abandon our single-family homes for stack-and-pack, multifamily apartments, and our private automobiles for jampacked mass transit.

The Met Council acknowledges this radical transformation will be an “enormous undertaking.” That’s because it runs directly counter to the way most Twin Citians prefer to live.

Thrive MSP 2040’s densification crusade seeks, first and foremost, to reorganize our metro area around public mass transit. Its guiding principle is “transit-oriented development.” That’s “New Urbanist” lingo for cramming future metro-area development — housing, jobs, retail, entertainment — into small, dense areas within “easy walking distance” (one-half mile) of major public transit stations in the core cities and inner-ring suburbs.

Transit-oriented development requires declaring war on the family car. The Thrive plan’s transportation system prioritizes walking, bicycling and transit, with motor vehicle use dead-last.

Read entire article HERE.

"Density in a time of coronavirus"; By Katherine Kersten (; Minneapolis StarTribune OpEd; April 3, 2020

Keyword: Mpls2040

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