In 2015 I reposted an article out of Minneapolis about how people in that city were thinking about the idea of rebranding themselves as the capita of a region called “the North” as opposed to the Midwest. I then followed-on with a few thoughts of my own.
The idea has apparently gathered some steam, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported:
A growing movement in Minnesota aims to break free of its Midwest roots and embrace its bone-chilling winters with a new identity: the North.
Seeking to conjure up images of competitive winter sports, icy lakes and snuggling in front of a toasty fire, these northern evangelists are ready for their moment in the sun when Super Bowl LII comes to Minneapolis on Feb. 4.
Minnesotans are “sick of being this afterthought in this afterthought called the Midwest. We’re the star of the North and no one else can offer that,” said R.T. Rybak, who served as mayor of Minneapolis from 2002 until 2014.
The state is using the North to tackle an economic challenge: historically low unemployment and sluggish population growth. Employers complain that they can’t find the workers they need to fill jobs. The unemployment rate in the Minneapolis region stood at 2.4% in November. The state has an unemployment rate of 3.1%, a full percentage point lower than the national average.
I don’t have much commentary right now except to note that they now seem to now be equating the North with Minnesota. This is effectively the same point I made when I previous noted that Minneapolis is mostly the capital of Minnesota. If the region is a state, why not just sell “Minnesota”? Nevertheless, I thought this idea was intriguing back then and still do. Embracing the idea of the city as the “capital of cold” is I think fundamentally a sound one.