Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Minneapolis-St. Paul: White, Liberal, and Cold

As we are experiencing an early winter storm here in the Midwest, one that is particularly slamming the Twin Cities – the Metrodome roof just collapsed – perhaps it is time for a brief look at the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis-St. Paul has always been a bit of an outlier in the Midwest. Its economy was originally based around grains and such, not the auto and metals axes that supported the rest of the Midwest. So it had a very different trajectory than most other regional cities. The economy, along with its location far to the north, meant that it experienced the Great Migration to an extent far less than other cities. Today, the Twin Cities are among the least diverse in the Midwest. The black population of Hennepin County is only 11% and Ramsey County 10%, compared to 26% for Cook County, Illinois, which is more representative of Midwest industrial cities. This, along with its Scandinavian demographics, give the Twin Cities a not entirely undeserved reputation as white cities, though there has been significant international immigration of late.

Minnesota is also famously liberal. Home to politicians like Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, Minnesota has long been known as a progressive bastion, something perhaps related to its Scandinavian heritage. Richard Longworth, for example, noted that in 1978 33 of the 37 corportations that donated 5% of profits to charity were located in Minnesota. The Twin Cities have a large gay population and it is among the most gay-friendly locales in the country. Yet the picture is more nuanced than that. Republicans have often been elected there. The current governor is a fairly conservative Republican. And as immigrants have moved in and the economy changed, state politics have shifted to the right and now more closely resemble American than previously.

And of course there is the weather. It gets cold in Minnesota, making Minneapolis perhaps one of the few cities that can justify its downtown skywalk system. Unlike places like Chicago, however, where people hunker down for the winter or migrate to warmer climates, Minnesotans embrace the winter and winter sports. Their love of the outdoors doesn’t stop in December, and many people enjoy outdoor winter activities.

White, liberal, cold. In my view that sums up the easy popular outside stereotype of the Twin Cities. And like many, it is not without its grain of truth.

Interestingly, that rep is not that different, except for the cold part, from places like Portland and Seattle, places to which the Twin Cities are sometimes compared. Indeed, we see that it is similarly very educated, with a metro area college degree attainment of 37.6%, #8 in the country among metro areas with more than one million people. There’s also a surprisingly strong biking community. The city of Minneapolis has 3.9% of all workers commuting by bicycle, which is #7 out of all cities in the US, trailing only Portland among larger cities. They built a light rail line. The Twin Cities clearly deserve a place in the top ranks of urban progressivist cities.

Indeed, despite the weather and lack of diversity (the political climate’s affect depends on one’s own orientation), the Twin Cities enjoy a strong reputation, especially regionally. Interestingly, when I visited there last spring, a lot of the locals were concerned that, like many other Midwest cities, they have low brand awareness in the marketplace and are often a cipher to people out there in the world. That may be true to some extent, but I can tell you that they are far ahead of most Midwest cities in this arena. Especially within the region, people clearly know the Twin Cities and hold them in very high regard, even if they don’t think a comparison is necessarily fair. One example, an uber-hip person in Indianapolis was talking about some aspect of that city he felt was particularly strong compared to the rest of the Midwest. When I brought up the example of Minneapolis, he said, “Yeah, but everything about that city is just cool.”

So I think the Twin Cities have a positive brand image, from an urbanist perspective at least. And I can tell you from my time visiting and working there that it’s a great city. I could definitely enjoy living there, though there are some caveats I’ll get to in a minute. And it’s not just cool living either. The city is home to many corporations like Best Buy, Target, and 3M as well as a major hub for Oracle and a large American Express facility. There are tons of white collar, knowledge industry type jobs there. Its per capita income is well above the US average, as is its per capita GDP. This is a city that appears to have transitioned well to the new economy, even if employment is a challenge and it has experienced some serious housing bust issues.

The other advantage it has is the the metro area has the trifecta of being the largest metro in the state, the state capital, and home to the main state university. It also has a large share of the state’s population, giving it influence in the statehouse that a Columbus or Indianapolis could only dream of. The geographic downside is that it is remote, and geographically located near the fringe of the US, though it does have good air connectivity.

There are some caveats for outsiders, however. Although the region is below my large Midwest metro average for percentage of residents who were born in their current state of residence (possibly also affected by being a bi-state metro), I definitely get the impression of lots of Minnesotans every time I go there. That’s not necessarily bad, but as with many Midwest towns, it reinforces the feeling of being an outsider if you aren’t one, at least to me.

Possibly that’s a bit because the Twin Cities is a bit of an isolate in the Midwest. In Chicago, you always run into people from where ever it is you are from, especially if that’s in the Midwest. I don’t experience that in the Twin Cities. Indeed, looking at the numbers, other than Chicago and Wisconsin, the Twin Cities do not appear to draw a major number of migrants from other Midwest cities. Denver, San Diego, and Seattle send more people to the Twin Cities than do Detroit, Kansas City or St. Louis. It gets more people from Portland than from Columbus or Indianapolis. The Twin Cities seem more connected to other talent hubs than the rest of the Midwest.

The other thing I notice about the Twin Cities is a very old money feel to it. Perhaps it is just the local style, but the natives I know there often seem to have a somewhat patrician bearing and speaking style. Virtually everyone I’ve met who is a native whose origins I can conclusively identify is somehow connected to money or power. And even for those I can’t, there are strongly indicative things, like a stray mention that, “I grew up in a house along the other side of the lake.” Perhaps because I grew up in a poor rural area, I notice that stuff more, and it’s a little disconcerting. It gives off the impression that there’s a club, and you’re not ever going to get to be a member.

In short, while I really like the city and think I might enjoy living in it, I’m not entirely comfortable there. And I know I’m not the only one. I know multiple people who moved to Minneapolis and left it because of difficulty fitting in or penetrating the social structures there. This might be one cultural weakness of the city. In the type of dynamic, diverse world we live in, cities that turn off a significant number of people can be limited on the talent front. Also, the fact that I’ve heard reports of difficult to penetrate and navigate social structures is also not a good thing.

Nevertheless, given the strong structural advantages of the region, its educated workforce, its air connections, the strong and diverse base of employers, and its ability to attract immigrants, Minneapolis-St. Paul looks to be a successful place going forward, unless they screw it up somehow. What I don’t see yet is a catalyst for turning the region into a real economic dynamo that would strongly grow employment, population, etc. It strikes me that the most likely course is a more restrained and stable path into the future. Regardless, the economic state of the Twin Cities is one which many Midwest towns would dearly love to have.

PS: Here’s a video of the collapse of the Metrodome roof from the inside (if the video doesn’t display, click here):

29 Comments
Topics: Civic Branding, Urban Culture
Cities: Minneapolis-St. Paul

29 Responses to “Minneapolis-St. Paul: White, Liberal, and Cold”

  1. Stephen Gross says:

    Regarding the Metrodome collapse: We can see both the Metrodome and the I-35 bridge from our apartment. It’s pretty eerie: 4 years ago, the bridge collapsed and disappeared from view. Today, so did the Metrodome. At least no one got hurt this time.

    Regarding diversity: It’s true that it’s not very diverse here, especially compared to Chicago. Within the city, the noticeable minority ethnic groups are Hmong, Liberians, and Somalis. However, it’s mostly a white city. Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult to attract unmarried nonwhites to the city, since the dating pool is more limited. It would be interesting to consider what kind of policy effort is required to alter this course.

    Regarding liberalism: Yep, the state has a strong liberal bent to it. Our schools are (mostly) well-funded, and at least within the major cities there is a strong commitment to civic culture and government services. But don’t forget that Michele Bachmann represents the 6th circuit, both houses of the legislature will be Republican-controlled starting in 2011, and that Emmer (the Republican candidate) lost his gubenatorial bid by less than 9000 votes.

    Regarding gay-friendliness: One of the interesting things about Minnesota’s brand of gay-friendliness is that it’s not particularly self-promoting in this respect. It’s simply a good place for gay people. (This, in contrast to places like Seattle that advertise their open attitude on the national radar).

    Regarding the weather: It is indeed chilly here. But we are very well-prepared to tackle it. The city has hundreds of plows and a very efficient “snow emergency” system. As for us normal folks, we just wear a LOT of thermal layers and grit our way through it. The key thing is to make yourself go outside and be social and celebrate even in the dead of January.

    Regarding bike commuting: Our bike commuting rates are high, but only relative to other cities in America. 3.9% is still a woefully low number, and not one we should be particularly proud of. There’s a long way to go!

    Regarding brand awareness: The Twin Cities are not very much on the national radar. I’m not sure if this is a problem. It’s true that most of the domestic immigrants come from rural parts of neighboring states, NOT major Midwest cities. I do, however, know lots of California transplants. Maybe my sample is just not representative, though.

    Regarding employment: Overall, we’re in better shape than other metro areas. The knowledge economy is strong, but we still face stiff competition, both nationally and internationally. The long-term fate of the region rests on the judgment and wisdom of corporate and civic leaders. There is no guarantee that our companies will remain successful unless they are well-managed. Also, there are two major areas of employment that you forgot: medical technology (consider Medtronic, St Jude Medical, and Boston Scientific), and marketing (many major marketers are based here).

    Regarding locational advantage: This is probably in some ways the most significant factor working in our favor. The nearest truly big city is Chicago, about 400 miles away. (I suppose you could claim Madison is “big”, but that’s another debate). Other than that, there’s St Louis to the Southwest (even farther), and Billings VERY far west. This means that our economic catchment area is huge! If you’re a smart, college-grad living in the Dakotas, Iowa, or Wisconsin, the Twin Cities are an obvious choice. As a result, it’s very common to meet people from these areas. Also, since Minnesota has an agreement with Wisconsin to provide in-state tuitiion to Wisconsin residents, it’s very easy for a Wisconsinite to attend the University of Minnesota.

    Regarding resistant to outsiders: I agree that this problem exists, and I agree that this is a significant long-term issue. Despite people’s claims that “Minnesota nice” is a well-established virtue, I remain unimpressed by their ability to truly welcome outsiders into their lives. Minnesotans are certainly friendly, and I’ve never felt rejected by them. But 4 years after moving here, I have yet to truly establish a local social network despite my best efforts. Most Minnesotans grew up here, or in neighboring states. As a result, their social networks are already well-formed and, for that matter, closed to newcomers. It’s unfortunate: The city may be successful in the long-term as a smallish big city (or large small city, depending on your point of view); unless it can truly welcome in outsider it will always be limited in growth potential.

  2. TI says:

    Steven, you left out the Twin Cities’ large latino population.

    I agree that the area isn’t good at engaging new people. I think that has less to do with being hostile, but more to do with well established social groups and a cultural standard of not being too forward. But once you’ve penetrated, Minnesotans do odd things like give tours of their house (including their bedrooms). Sort of odd, but demonstrative of the welcoming attitude once people are comfortable.

  3. aim says:

    From a governance perspective, Minneapolis-St. Paul has always been known for its regional tax-base sharing, mainly for being an outlier as compared to most metro areas. Is it one of the keys to the long-term success of the metro area?

  4. Tony says:

    Sorry to pick at another article of yours, but like your article “The White City” from last year, you completely fail to look at diversity properly. Talking about percentage black, doesn’t correlate to a city being more or less white.

    The MSP metro IS certainly more white than many others, but is in fact less white than most midwestern cities (including Cincinnati) as I pointed out in a comment to your previous article.

    You do some good writing and raise some interesting points, but I’d appreciate it if you’d take ALL races into account before making these trite statements about a city’s “whiteness.” Also, I’m not sure if those points really mean anything, because the racial makeup of most cities has to do with their long and complex histories, their geographic locations, and numerous other factors that make it silly to expect Portland or Minneapolis to have as large black populations as Chicago or Atlanta.

    Thanks.

  5. Stephen Gross says:

    Tony: I don’t think it’s a question of expectations of racial diversity. Rather, the point is to look at the city’s demographic makeup, economic potentital, and make realistic policy arguments. You are absolutely correct that the city’s unique history explains its current demographics. However, we have to think critically about whether any long-term change in this makeup might be advantageous from a growth perspective. (Or, for that matter, whether the lack of diversity will eventually contribute to economic decline).

  6. Eric M says:

    “It gives off the impression that there’s a club, and you’re not ever going to get to be a member.”

    I lived in the Twin Cities for 2 1/2 years. There were things I liked, but the only people I really was able to get to know there weren’t from the Twin Cities. There really did seem to be a “club” or something. Some of the more aware locals called it “Minnesota Ice” (a play on “Minnesota Nice”). It was the primary reason I’m no longer in Minnesota. I’ve 3/4 Scandinavian and culturally understood much of how things worked, but I never understood the insular attitudes of so many people there.

    The Twin Cities has a lot going for it, and if the Midwest ever gets High Speed Rail, I think a Chicago-Minneapolis route is a certain winner, but my time in Minneapolis was some of the hardest, most depressing times of my life. Chicago may be far bigger, but I’ve found it to be far more friendly, too.

  7. Random Dude says:

    Im one of those people who moved from rural minnesota, to the twin cities (or “the cities” as we call them back home).

    I think that its important to keep in mind that “minnesota nice” is a very different animal than “southern hospitality”. Most people who hear the term assume that they are the same thing.

    Minnesota nice: is being polite, curteous, helpful, and most of all.. be quite around strangers so you don’t scare them away.

    Southern hospitality: be friendly, loud, and slap a stranger on the back (only if you like them) as a sign of comradery.

    When I moved here I basically had no social network, and now I have a great one. When people say that its hard to get to know people in the T-C I just shake my head, because most of the time they aren’t even trying. You need to be out going and approach people, volunteer, join clubs, invite the people whom who want to be friends to your home or to the bar or where ever. I don’t see how this is different than anywhere else, other than the fact that people here won’t necessarily approach you, mostly due to politeness.

    Any way its good to see an article about the Twin Cities. I’ve been all over the country and it is among the best.

  8. as555 says:

    I observed all the things you mentioned in this article when I visited the Twin Cities last spring but was unable to find the words to describe my experience – I think you hit the nail on the head!

  9. Stephen Gross says:

    Random Dude: Any more concrete suggestions? I’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one outreach, as it were. Everyone already seems to have friends/family/etc. It’s a little tricky to find clubs with people in my age range (25-35). Suggestions are appreciated! :)

  10. It may only be 10-11% black, but being the home of Prince counts for something.

  11. Chris Barnett says:

    There is a lot of Scandinavian-Lutheran and German-Lutheran in the Minnesota DNA. (Lutherans are the ones who really “get” Garrison Keillor.) This probably correlates with the anecdotal social-network differences other posters have offered, as people of that background are noted for generally “cool” personal relationships.

    As Aaron points out in describing this post’s title, this assertion too is a gross generalization…but not without support. Despite Tony’s protestations above, MSP is about as close to a homogeneous European-American population as any large metro in the US. And the white people really are largely of Northern European extraction.

    MSP (metro) really doesn’t have the ethnic and racial diversity of other US metros its size, or even of smaller “Lower Midwest” metros. It is 84.3% “white alone” per the Census Bureau ACS data, a full 10% higher than the US average of 74.3%. Put another way, 5 of 6 people are Caucasian. Indianapolis and Columbus, for instance, are at 80%…4 of 5.

    Using “home county” numbers is even more illustrative: Hennepin County (Minneapolis) is 78.9% “white alone”, Ramsey (St. Paul) is 76.3%. Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana is at 67.5%. A >10% racial/ethnic minority population difference in the urban core is significant.

    Aaron’s characterization is a fair one.

  12. Chris, the caveat on white only is that it includes Hispanics (not a racial category).

  13. mullen says:

    among the largest if not the largest hmong and somalian populations in the u.s. latin/hispanic numbers growing. there is much diversity if one chooses to research. if minneapols/st paul isn’t midwest than I’m not sure what exactly defines midwest for you. it’s not columbus or indianapolis, two cities that get tremendous praise from you on a daily basis, but I would argue the twin cities is a superior metro by nearly every measure.

  14. Jacobean says:

    Chris, the characterization isnt actually a “fair one.” Home county numbers aren’t at all illustrative in this case, because Indianapolis is a proportionally much larger piece of Marion County than Minneapolis is of Hennepin County:

    Indianoplis: 807,584 (63.3% white)
    Marion County: 890,879 (67% white)

    Minneapolis: 386,691 (64% white)
    Hennepin County: 1,156,212 (79% white)

    Numbers for Marion County aren’t substantially different than for the city of Indianapolis, whereas numbers for Hennepin County are mostly from suburban communities.

  15. Matt Hall says:

    It think those who mention a sense of exclusion are really sensing regional cultural differences as Randon Dude suggests. Since the majority of arrivals to the twin cities are from the upper Midwest they share a way of relating to others that isn’t found outside the region. Coming from Kentucky to Iowa it has been tough for me to relate to Midwesterners. The more expressive and individualistic ‘ways’ of the upper South don’t apply here and I’ve had to change my ways a lot. Once I did I was accepted, but if I had not it is clear to me that I would have a lonely and uncomfortable, if politely acknowledged, life in Iowa.

  16. Matt Kummer says:

    Aaron–

    Thanks for the article. I found it to be mostly accurate. It’s always interesting to hear a take on the Twin Cities from someone who’s not from here. I can appreciate the native and the outside point of view, having just moved back to MSP after about 15 years.
    As for diversity, this area feels more diverse than you’d think. Yes, it is absolutely a Scandinavian/German predominance here. But, the Hmong and Somali communities are very large are have for the most part integrated successfully into the area– the Hmong more so now, because they’ve been here for 30+ years now. It feels more diverse than Indianapolis, where I lived. Indy has a higher number of African-Americans than MSP, but not nearly as many other large ethnic groups.

    I can tell you regarding the winter weather, that people handle it extremely well here. Even after 20 inches of snow fell in parts of the metro Saturday– the freeways and main roads were in pretty good shape by mid-morning yesterday. I even saw people biking this morning– in sub-zero weather!

    The bicycling culture here is as hard-core as anywhere. Plenty of trails, even in the urban core, and just about every street has bike lanes. Minneapolis unveiled a bike-share program this past spring based on the ones in Montreal and Paris, and it was a smashing success.

  17. Chris Barnett says:

    Aaron, I realize that “non-white” is not the same as “minority” in Census Bureau numbers because of Hispanic population. But both IND and MSP metro populations are estimated to have about 4-5% Hispanic population (any race) per ACS.

    You didn’t overreach; the numbers don’t lie. MSP has significantly less racial/ethnic diversity than the US as a whole and less than every other Midwest metro besides Omaha and Des Moines.

  18. JC says:

    Given the number of lakes in the city, I’m not sure saying you grew up in a house near one necessarily implies significant wealth. It’s not like saying you live in the Gold Coast in Chicago.

  19. JC, for the city lakes I’ve visited, it sure looks like it.

  20. GJK says:

    Aaron, I’ve been reading Urbanophile for a long time and have never commented, but I really felt the need to point something out.

    On a recent business trip to Minneapolis (also my only trip to MN) I found the people there to be absolutely wonderful. I got to know several people pretty well over the course of a week, and I felt extremely welcome everywhere I went, even when just chatting with folks at several different bars in different parts of town. The people in Mpls (and even the drivers!) are just very pleasant. Way more pleasant than people in my neck of the woods, in a different part of the Midwest. Overall, my experience was completely different from yours.

    I’m not saying you’re necessarily wrong about Minneapolis, but I’m just pointing out the danger of relying too much on anecdotal evidence from a limited amount of personal experience.

    I’m

  21. ML says:

    As a recent (~18 month) transplant to the Twin Cities, I think most of the post is pretty accurate. A couple thoughts:

    The houses on the lake in the Cities proper are mostly pretty pricey, but once you get further out, seems like everyone and their mother has a lake house up north.

    The cliquishness/whatever seems to me to partly be a symptom of the isolation of the Twin Cities. It’s a smallish metro (I’m from Chicago) and since there’s less migration in and out, social networks stay more intact. With that said, most of my social network is transplants from IL and WI. I didn’t really find the “in-crowd” thing to be any worse than other places I’ve lived, but I’ve always been pretty mediocre at building a social network from scratch.

    Yes, the Cities are pretty white. The one thing that strikes me, coming from Chicago, is the relative tinyness of the Hispanic population here.

    One thing I would be curious to see someone dig deeper into is the conflict between the ambitions of the Twin Cities and the problems caused by how incredibly sprawling the Metro is. I’m thinking of things like the disappointing numbers for the Northstar Commuter Rail and even the solid but unspectacular ridership on NiceRide. So far the Hiawatha line has been a big success, and I am confident the Central Corridor will be fine, but I’m worried about the proposed Southwest LRT line. These are just the random thoughts, of course…

  22. Tom G says:

    Moved up from St. Louis August 2009. A few notes;

    I get a feeling of new money, not old.

    It’s more diverse than St. louis outside Stl’s large AA population. The mix itself is more diverse, yet without as many blacks it does appear white.

    The locals or natives aren’t all that liberal or educated. I’d say they are average midwestern.

    The economy has brought in many people from elsewhere, I feel these people have greatly contributed to the liberal Twin Cities.

    It is tough to break in with the locals, I’m okay with that considering our ties to a local university.

    It’s nice here, but I’d rather be back in the Lou. However, I’d take many things here with me if I could!

  23. I quickly pulled the numbers for percentage of the population that is white only, non-hispanic for MSAs over 1 million in population. Here’s the top 10. As you can see, MSP ranks #5 in the US

    1 Pittsburgh, PA 2,071,990 (88.0%)
    2 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 1,795,767 (82.7%)
    3 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 1,304,519 (81.5%)
    4 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 910,387 (81.0%)
    5 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 2,645,934 (80.9%)
    6 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 1,012,606 (80.5%)
    7 Rochester, NY 827,522 (79.9%)
    8 Columbus, OH 1,401,300 (77.8%)
    9 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 1,739,022 (77.6%)
    10 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 3,558,084 (77.5%)

  24. Jeb says:

    It is a wonderful place to visit when snow isn’t covering everything. From my experience, people there are generally very practical and sociable. This is fairly true anywhere that survival is difficult for a couple of months out of the year.

    People lose some of their whimsy when faced with death, yet paradoxically, they become more sociable when locked inside for months out of the year.

    Probably the most sociable people in the country are up in Seattle. This is probably due to the rain because it keeps people from taking each other for granted.

  25. Alex B. says:

    I won’t pretend to know enough about the Great Migration to understand why the Twin Cities were bypassed by African-Americans – the lack of heavy industrialization has been mentioned here, but maybe the well-known anti-semitism of Minneapolis in that period had something to do with it, too.

  26. Deciduous says:

    Aaron,

    My first comment! You never cease to impress me with your ability to grasp the big picture of a city accurately. I moved from Milwaukee to MPLS almost 3 years ago and really dig it here. Just a couple of comments:

    MSP is BOTH more diverse AND whiter than many metro areas in the country, esp the Midwest. Most notably, it’s middle class population is huge — almost as if it weren’t an American city or if it were a Pacific Northwest economy transplanted 2000 miles East. MSP did not suffer from the middle-class flight that most places in the Northeast and Midwest did. The Cities are places where a working or middle class family can afford to buy a house with a yard, send their kids to decent public schools, and basically live the American Dream — urban style and inexpensively.

    On Minnesota Nice vs. Ice: MSP’s specific Upper Midwestern culture and geographic isolation, harsh winters, and Scandinavian heritage certainly contribute to how long it takes to get close to us. Keep something in mind though: residents of the Twin Cities are some of the most cultured, most left-wing, and most talented urbanites in the country. Minnesotans will take you seriously when you demonstrate you understand our wintry social skills, can handle our weather (including humid summers that make West Coasters miserable) , and when you realize that gaining cultural capital in Minneapolis is different than in most parts of the country (that is, the bar is set higher.) I’m not saying this is always fair, and a lot of it is just straight up middle-class privilege bias, but it’s how it is up here.

    I think your comment that MSP has stronger relationships with other talent-hub cities rather than it’s regional siblings is quite accurate. The Twin Cities was designed to succeed: most major Midwestern metro areas have their main industries, capitol, and major universities are many miles apart: I think this means that instead of having one impressive metro area, it creates numerous ones that aren’t as powerful as they could be. The Twin Cities is totally different from the typical layout of Midwestern urban development because its money, politics, culture, and entertainment are so concentrated.

    A Note on Cultural and Geographic Isolation: I do not want Mpls to become Seattle and get overrun with young professionals and see our rents double within the next 10 years. Portland is` already on a trajectory of rapid gentrification, where the artists and activists that make that city so interesting are going to be forced into the lackluster suburbs due to lack of cheap rent near the city core within the next few years. All cities love development (which is different though often correlated with growth) and new blood, but at what cost? Our identity? America is the size of a continent: Maybe our intentional regionalism is what gives us the flavor that other places often lack?

  27. Thanks again – great comments.

  28. Mauricio L says:

    I’d add to Number 1 and 26 and Aaron that Mineapolis is a seat of the Federal Reserve, and perhaps as a result it has a strong financial sector…

  29. Anon says:

    Twin Cities residents sure believe they live in a great place, though most have never traveled very far away and have little basis for coming to that conclusion. Of the place I have lived, it is my least favorite.

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