Saturday December 2nd 2023

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‘Phillips Imaginary’ Archives

Phillips Imaginary: No. 1

Phillips Imaginary: No. 1

Diagonal Pedestrian Paths with Mary Ellen Kaluza By MATTIE WONG, Radicle Land Collective An imagined rendering of a diagonal pedestrian/bike path through a city block. The pathway itself could be gravel and not add more impermeable paving to the urban environment. SOURCE: Radicle Land Collective The purpose of Phillips Imaginary is to consider alternatives in our built environment from the minds of residents, whether or not they would ever be considered in reality. You can’t build or debate what you can’t imagine, first! In this inaugural article, Radicle Land Collective talks to Mary Ellen Kaluza, a long-time Phillips resident, about diagonal cut-throughs to aid pedestrian movement in our very gridded city. The midwestern grid we are so familiar with was devised by Thomas Jefferson during the late 1700s when various purchases of land were made. The grid was seen as an efficient way to survey and parcel out the land in order to be sold off and settled to fund the then-young US government. Gridded American cities generally followed this logic - the grid is a geometrically efficient shape for city services, bus lines with fewer transfers, and maximizing building space. Some would argue it sprang out of puritanical ideas of social order and neatness. Various other ideas of urban street design have existed in the past and are changing even now in the present. Many European cities were built radially from the center, in order to be more defensible in war. Cul-du-sacs and sprawling suburbs that concentrate residential and commercial areas in our recent era have greatly changed the logistics of living. In Minneapolis, our grid system creates blocks that are .1 miles N-S and .05 miles E-W, on average (the grid shifts 45 degrees in the Downtown and Marcy Holmes neighborhoods, in orientation to the river). When walking, to get to one corner of a block to the opposite corner would be a distance of .15 miles. If there were diagonal pathways for [...]

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