by Maggie Meyer
follow me on Twitter: @maggie_meyer
Let’s play a game.
- Would you rather live in a city or a suburb?
- Would you rather have your own yard or access to a public park?
- Would you rather drive to work and listen to your own music or ride public transit and read your Kindle?
- Would you rather rent or own your home?
I’ll be honest. I’m a CPTR (city-park-transit-rent). How about you?
And why on earth would I ask these questions? So you, too, can experience the YNPN “Back to the Future Event” with Metropolitan Council and the Theatre of Public Policy from Nov. 21.
The event centered on ThriveMSP2040, or Met Council’s devious plan to make our cities livable. The Metropolitan Council is a group of governor appointed officials that stands as “the regional policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities metropolitan region.” In other words, they create and implement a plan (ThriveMSP2040) to encourage development across the entire metro area to work together to make our cities more liveable and suited to the needs of all of the people and communities that call the Twin Cities home.
As we learned when we went back to the future, ThriveMSP2040 spans development over the next 30 years in the entire metro region. It includes development of all of the spaces that we see and are in each day, such as transportation and infrastructure, housing, and parks. The goal of making these things work together across the metro is, in their words, “too big for any one community to take on, but possible to accomplish as a region.”
So how is Met Council making sure that ThriveMSP2040 reflects the needs of our varied communities? Well, first they’ll review the 30-year plan every 10 years to make sure it is still appropriate. The Council is also working to engage communities through events like “Back to the Future” with The Theater of Public Policy.
At the event, we heard about the ThriveMSP2040 planning process from Dan Marckel, Planning Analyst at the Met Council. Then, the T2P2 theatre troupe did improv to play on the funnier, and more difficult to discuss, issues with our current urban development. The event included time for attendees to discuss what they were watching, including a rousing round of “Would you rather?” The questions seemed simple enough, but our table got a little heated as we started to see all of the lifestyle choices and issues the Council must address.
So why is it important to understand Met Council and ThriveMSP2040? Because we live it everyday! Everywhere we look we can see the infrastructure the Met Council helps build and plan. Streets, parks, sewers, transit (transit and more transit) - it’s all designed and made for us to live in.
However, the people that are planning, designing, and building are doing so without our voice. When asked about diversity on the Met Council board, Dan Marckel answered, “Well, some of us have beards, some of us don’t. Some of us wear glasses while others wear contact lenses.” A very funny answer from a very good sport for fielding such a tough question, but his answer brought to attention a very good point. The Council is mainly made up of middle-aged white men. The Twin Cities are full of folks from all forms of diversity, and as it stands, a lot of the policies that determine the flow and form of the Cities are made by a small group of homogenous people.
That’s why Met Council is making an effort to engage groups across our communities to hold conversations about how to make our public spaces work for our public, from now to 2040 and beyond. Check out more Met Council events to contribute your point of view to the ThriveMSP2040 plan.
Want to join the conversation? Add your answers to the Would You Rather questions in the comment section and let’s start talking about our Cities and how we live in them!
Photo used with permission of author. Edited to change picture - original photo credit