The North Loop Is Burning!, Part II: Kotkin Was Right!

A few years ago, we wrote about an article by urban planner Joel Kotkin.

Kotkin is a left-leaning urban planning type – is there any other kind?   But he’s made himself persona non grata among urban planning wonks by swimming against the current train of thought, which holds that core cities will rise again; the “Creative Class” loves their inner-urban amenities, and the rest will be forced there by Met Council policies.

Kotkin notes that for the past generation, most growth in this country – economic and demographic – is happening in the outer suburbs and exurbs of major and mid-sized cities.  Kotkin also theorizes that cities are rapidly devolving into a demographic donut:

  1. A downtown area full of well-to-do, gentry – businesspeople, technocrats, upper-middle-class empty-nesting retirees, and “the creative class”.
  2. The rest of the city – where the civil service class warehouses the poor.

The progressive political class tries to conceal this by inducing suburbs to increase the amount of “Affordable Housing” – but we’re going astray, here.

Accoridng to the Strib’s editorial last week, it appears that the outer and inner donut rings are getting too close together:

“Downtown has become everything to everybody,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and that’s a problem. Few downtowns, he noted, have two major homeless shelters, along with the myriad social-services and outreach programs that have located downtown over the years.

Five will get you ten that this is followed by a call to move more of these facilities and services to the ‘burbs – so the people in the donut hole don’t have to deal with them.

“That may be something to rethink,” he said.


So – for the past sixty years, the DFL has had iron-clad control over Minneapolis.   They created an interventionistic bureaucracy that fed off the welfare state, and created some of the worst income disparitie in the state.

And now they want someone to get the bums out of their perfectly-coiffed hair:

Panhandling is tougher to deal with, since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 — Reed vs. the town of Gilbert — has been widely interpreted as a prohibition on panhandling laws thought to restrict free speech. The high court did not make a specific ruling on that issue, but the Columbia Law Review recently noted that “there is a real danger that virtually all panhandling laws will be invalidated, even though some serve to protect pedestrians and others.” Because of the court’s decision, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the city’s panhandling laws are no longer enforced.


Aggressive panhandling is not benign, and it often is committed by individuals with mental-health problems and addictions. There have been reports of panhandlers confronting individuals and demanding money, even chasing them for “donations.” It is possible that more narrowly targeted laws, aimed at harassing behavior or specific locations, such as near ATMs and transit stops, could survive legal scrutiny. Minneapolis officials should undertake a serious effort to craft legally defensible alternatives, rather than leave an apparently unenforceable law on the books.

Or, Minneapolis could continue to shred through low-income jobs like they grow on trees, enforcing unsustainable, job-killing minimum wage laws and making affordable housing a government-controlled racket.

Maybe that’ll work this time.

Tomorrow – Never Never Land,

15 thoughts on “The North Loop Is Burning!, Part II: Kotkin Was Right!

  1. Brutal post, Mitch. Central planning is worthless.

    The West End development was predicated on Minneapolis being governed poorly. They are shovel ready for even more apartments if they need it.

    Private capital > government.

  2. “Five will get you ten that this is followed by a call to move more of these facilities and services to the ‘burbs – so the people in the donut hole don’t have to deal with them.”

    look out Golden Valley/St Louis Park and Richfield – the pilot project in Brooklyn Center has been up and running for years and by their lights “is working”

  3. On Part I of this series, I suggested that the only viable solution was: MO MONEY. In retrospect, that would never work. What is needed is: LOTS MO MONEY.

  4. TFS – I never knew about the predicate, but it makes sense.

    MW – Yep.

    Greg – Naturally.

  5. The only saving graces for inner-ring suburbs like Crystal and Robbinsdale, is that there is very little undeveloped land left on which to build apartments and condos. They’re still trying tho. I know that 5 businesses were removed and the land razed to build a new block of hundreds of apartments and townhomes (currently under construction) on Med Lk Rd/Winnetka in New Hope/Golden Valley.

  6. They’ll push “affordable housing” (apartments with lots of people and not much parking) on the first ring suburbs, and then the suburbs will also find how inadequate their roads are. Pretty soon, it’ll look like Stony Island in Chicago,and not the part by the Museum of Science and Industry, either.

  7. If HUD can make Dubuque a dumping ground for all the failures of Chicago, just think what the Met Council could do to Lakeville.

  8. Meanwhile…down here in Hillbillyville, we are completing a little project we started a couple years ago…

    Not gonna find much affordable housing anywhere within 30 miles of here…but then again, we don’t need it, so there’s that, which is good, I guess.

    But hey, y’all got that Viking ship deal for your downtown…we don’t have that.

  9. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 09.19.17 : The Other McCain

  10. Well, Mac, it’s already in Richfield. A brand spanking new (well, 3 years ago anyway) Planned Parenthood center went in on 66th and Lyndale. The racist baby killers that they are, must have noticed that like East Bloomington, East Richfield has become a haven for low income Hispanics, both legal and illegal and Somalis.

  11. Planned Parenthood has a ton of overhead to cover. So they have to be good marketers.

    How did it come to this? GOP legal threats.

  12. The GOP forced abortion to where it can and ***has to be be*** monetized the most. Cash for K Street. Rent. Salaries.

    Democrats love it.

    Government force is counterproductive more often than not.

  13. One other thing about abortion. When you look at the latest research sort of around “attachment issues” and pregnancy, being overly idealistic about adoption is not very sensible.

  14. I went to our downtown Minneapolis office yesterday for an appointment and to meet someone for lunch. It is located just outside the North Loop, at Hennepin and Washington. The Cafe in the building has recently been remodeled, and they promoted the new look and food options quite a bit. They didn’t say too much about each food station now featuring an ordering kiosk with a credit card swipe. There were 3 people preparing food at the food stations and one person stocking the shelves. No cashiers. Previously there would have been at least twice that number of people working the floor.

    Oh, and it cost me $17 in the parking lot behind the building for about 3 hours.

    I love downtown.

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