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The revised draft of Minneapolis 2040 was released in Fall 2018 for consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council.  Read more about how to comment on the revised draft plan.

NOTE CONTENT CHANGES: In response to public input, the proposed content of this policy has changed since its original draft publication on March 22, 2018. To hide or view the mark-ups click the link below.

Public Realm: Proactively improve the public realm in order to encourage walking andto support a pedestrian friendly, high-quality and distinctive built environment.

Building mural
Temporary place-making event on street
Sidewalk cafe

The quality of the public realm – streets, sidewalks, plazas, green spaces, landscaping, public art, heritage streets and other publicly-accessible spaces – influences our city’s livability, sustainability, safety, transit, bikeability, walkability 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 in, work in, and visit Minneapolis.                                                                             

The City of Minneapolis has multiple planning processes and guidelines for designing within the public realm such as the Downtown Public Realm Framework and Access Minneapolis. for example, provides unified guidance to These documents 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 MinneapolisThe Arts in Public Places program guides the City in integrating public art into City planning, services, design and infrastructure.

ACTION STEPS

The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to proactively improve the public realm in order to encourage walking andto support a pedestrian friendly, high-quality and distinctive built environment.

  1. Develop a framework for public realm improvements citywide that guides landscaping, street furnishings, trees, heritage streets, and other improvements to the public realm and pedestrian environment. 
  2. Implement public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework in conjunction with transportation investments, such as street reconstructions and new transit lines according to objective and equitable criteria. 
  3. Require developers to implement public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework in conjunction with approvals for building construction and site modification. 
  4. Establish processes according to objective and equitable criteria for implementing public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework in areas not targeted for majorany transportation investments or new buildingsestablish processes for implementing public realm improvements called for in the citywide framework according to objective criteria.  
  5. Integrate public spaces that Enhance the pedestrian environment through sensory experiencesphysical interpretation of history, public art, and placemaking. 
  6. Explore and implement new ways to improve the public realm via pilot or creative projects in conjunction with utilizing public and private partnerships when appropriate, while ensuring public access, including shared streets 
  7. Encourage private investment in and maintenance of public space through City programs.
  8. Encourage the location and design of pedestrian spaces to be climate-sensitive, allowing for shelter, window breaks, and sun access or shading depending on seasonal protection needs.
  9. Consider alternative funding options for public realm improvements to ensure that all areas of the city have opportunities to benefit.
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