Public Realm: Proactively improve the public realm in order to encourage walking and support a high-quality and distinctive built environment.
The quality of the public realm – streets, sidewalks, plazas, and other publicly-accessible spaces – influences our city’s livability, sustainability, safety, and health. More people will choose to walk as a mode of transportation if the surrounding environment is well-designed. A vibrant and high-performing public realm also contributes to the region’s competitiveness and the image of the city, attracting people to live, work, and visit Minneapolis.
The City of Minneapolis has multiple planning processes and guidelines for designing within the public realm. The Downtown Public Realm Framework, for example, provides unified guidance to inform and coordinate the work of public and private entities that shape the public realm. This includes strategies for addressing gaps and identifying programming goals in the downtown geographic area.
Providing design guidance, Access Minneapolis contains a framework for urban street design which is rooted in the belief that the design of the street and areas adjacent to the street influence each other and that coordination between the two is necessary for successful transportation and placemaking in the City.
Other programs target specific needs of users in the public realm, from providing safe and healthy environments to determining the aesthetic quality and sense of place in the City of Minneapolis. The Arts in Public Places program guides the City in integrating public art into City planning, services, design and infrastructure.
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to proactively improve the public realm in order to encourage walking and support a high-quality and distinctive built environment.
- Develop a framework for public realm improvements citywide.
- Implement public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework in conjunction with transportation investments, such as street reconstructions and new transit lines.
- Require developers to implement public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework in conjunction with approvals for building construction and site modification.
- In areas not targeted for major transportation investments or new buildings, establish processes for implementing public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework according to objective criteria.
- Integrate public spaces that enhance the pedestrian environment through sensory experiences, public art, and placemaking.
- Explore and implement new ways to improve the public realm via pilot or creative projects in conjunction with public and private partnerships, including shared streets.