A Greenway Runs Through it: The Midtown Greenway and the Social Landscape of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway is a 5.5 mile bicycle and pedestrian corridor that replaced a grade-separated railroad line in 2000 and expanded to its current length in 2007. In an era of reinvestment in American inner cities and a heightened political awareness of both urban transportation alternatives and public spaces, the academic field of geography has much to contribute to the discussion about the viability, effectiveness, and success of projects such as this adaptive reuse of reclaimed, deindustrialized space. My research investigates results from a survey of 223 Greenway users, exploring participants’ demographics, residential proximity to the trail, and purposes for using the facility. My results are then compared to temporal and meteorological correlations of Greenway traffic and to Census-provided demographics of the surrounding neighborhoods. Hennepin County parcel data are also utilized to analyze how property values have changed based on proximity to the Greenway, and I also explore the spatial patterns of individual’s donations to the nonprofit that represents local’s interests for the trail. Focusing on the scalar dimensions of how this facility is related to the landscape provides an examination of a new piece of infrastructure that represents an emerging urban form poised to potentially revitalize, reorganize and reshape American cities.
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