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EarthCam announces live streaming in St. Paul

EarthCam, an international company providing live streaming video and time-lapse construction cameras for corporate, tourism and government clients in major cities around the world, has added St. Paul to its roster. The live stream takes in such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Minnesota State Capitol and the Fitzgerald Theater, as well sunsets and rush-hour traffic.

Minneapolis named most bikable city in U.S.

Walk Score, a Redfin company, has named Minneapolis the most bikable city in the U.S., according to an article in the Huffington Post. Minneapolis beat out even Portland, OR, and San Francisco for the honor. "With a Bike Score of 81.3. Minneapolis has a strong lead over San Francisco (75.1) and Portland (72.0)," according to the article.

Walk Score updated its 2015 Bike Score ranking for 154 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. "The ranking looked at cities with populations of 300,000 or more, and used Bike Score to determine which locations are best for bikers," the article stated. "The scores are measured on a scale of 0 - 100 based on bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and share of local workers' commutes traveled by bicycle."


Coen + Partners wins Cooper Hewitt design award

The Minneapolis landscape architecture firm Coen + Partners was recently award the 16th Annual National Design Award in Landscape Architecture from the Smithsonian's Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt.

“With the reopening of the museum this past year, Cooper Hewitt is scaling new heights to educate, inspire and empower our community through design,” said Caroline Baumann, director, in a press release. “I am thrilled and honored to welcome this year’s class of National Design Award winners, all of whom represent the pinnacle of innovation in their field, with their focus on collaboration, social and environmental responsibility, and the fusion of technology and craftsmanship.”
First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. The awards are accompanied each year by National Design Week, which this year will take place Oct. 10–18 and include a variety of public education programs, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

Founded by Shane Coen in 1991, Coen + Partners works through a process of collaboration, experimentation, and questioning, to embrace the complexities of each site with quiet clarity and ecological integrity. The practice has built a distinguished body of award-winning work that is widely recognized as progressive and timeless, receiving numerous awards for landscape architecture, planning, and urban design. Coen + Partners has been recognized by the AIA, the ASLA, the GSA Design Excellence Program, and the editorial staff of such influential publications as Metropolis, Dwell, and Architectural Record. New York Times architectural critic Anne Raver has described Coen + Partners’ work as “pushing Midwestern boundaries.”

U of M team wins DOE challenge

“Team OptiMN,” a group of 14 undergraduate and grad students at the University of Minnesota with diverse majors (including building science, sustainable design, construction management and business), was the Grand Award Winner of The Department of Energy’s second annual "Race to Zero" Student Design Competition. The team won for its design of the OptiMN Impact Home in North Minneapolis.

Teams competing in the “Race to Zero” challenge were asked to design cost-effective zero-energy-ready homes for mainstream builders, according to a press release announcing the award, adding that, "The winning design uses high-performance features that sharply reduce energy use, and allow for most of the remaining energy use to be offset with renewable energy." The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This year, the competition involved 33 teams from 27 universities in the U.S., Canada and China. "Along with energy-efficiency, the designed homes must be comfortable and attractive as well as affordable," the release stated.

Green Homes North, one of team OptiMN's partners, plans on building 100 energy-efficient homes in North Minneapolis in the next five years. Team OptiMN made sure the home followed their guidelines. The team also partnered with Urban Homeworks to design a high performance, affordable, flexible home. Residential Science Resources was the team's energy rater partner.

Team OptiMN’s design goals centered around meeting: the DOE’s challenge to build a zero energy ready home; Urban Homework’s mission to produce equitable, dignified communities; and Green Homes North Initiative to revitalize North Minneapolis neighborhoods with affordable, sustainable and quality homes.


Minneapolis is healthiest city in the US

Minneapolis is the healthiest city in the U.S. according to Livability.com. "Minneapolis provides residents with exercise opportunities, good food choices and strong support networks to help live healthy lives," according to a Livability press release. "With this in mind, Livability.com has named Minneapolis the Top 10 Healthiest City, 2015."

The editors studied County Healthcare Rankings data and spending data from Esri to find places with quality and affordable health care. They analyzed several measures of healthy communities such as the adult obesity rate, the percent of residents with access to healthy food and other stats. Also factored in were the number of hospitals, ratio of doctors to residents and more. They also looked into city infrastructure to promote healthy living, like access to farmers markets and parks, walkability, man-made amenities such as golf courses, as well as natural amenities. Additionally factored in was data from the EPA about the environmental components of a healthy city such as clean air and water.   

"With a park system covering nearly 17 percent of the city, it’s no wonder Minneapolis was named our healthiest city," according to the release. "On top of offering activities from hiking and biking to swimming, kayaking and cross-country skiing, recreational centers and health clubs provide even more indoor exercise options. Fewer than 14 percent of residents smoke, while more than 87 percent participate in physical activities on a regular basis. Minneapolis ranks well in health-care statistics, and less than 11 percent of residents are uninsured, and most get annual checkups and health screenings. Recycling, composting, and walking or biking to work is a way of life for many of the people living in Minneapolis, and the downtown farmers market makes it easy for residents to get healthy foods."

Minneapolis 2nd among top 10 best downtowns

In this "golden age of American downtowns," Minneapolis is #2 out of 10 nationally, according to Livability.com.

The ranking criteria included vacancy rate, population increase since 2010, percentage of new homeowners, daytime population, project median household income, walk score, entertainment options and arts/cultural attractions.

"Young professionals between the ages of 22 and 34 are especially drawn to downtowns, where people can congregate, enjoy shopping and dining, walk, bike and, most importantly, live," according to a Livability.com press release. "With this in mind, Livability.com has named Minneapolis a Top 10 Best Downtown, 2015." 

"Our editors focused on small to mid-sized cities, taking into consideration increasing housing values and populations to find cities that are growing and thriving. They looked for areas with new construction because cranes are often a great sign of economic and cultural recovery. They found downtowns with vibrant arts scenes and walkable streets. In addition, our well-traveled editors weighed in with their own opinions. The data drives our short list, but our journalistic judgment helps determine the final rankings," according to the release.

“We’re really in a new golden age of American downtowns,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. "Throughout cities large and small, the energy and resources focused on restoring Main Streets and urban cores is paying off.”

"Downtown Minneapolis offers a low vacancy rate, high percentage of new homeowners, walkability and an array of entertainment options. It is also surrounded by parks, lakes and rivers providing residents quick access to a variety of outdoor recreation," the release added.

NE Minneapolis named best art district in U.S.

USA Today's 10 Best Readers' Choice awards includes Best Art District, which went this year to Northeast Minneapolis.

Northeast Minneapolis beat out art districts in Santa Fe, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit.

"Centered around the Northrup King Building," according to the USA Today 10 Best website, "the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District serves as a home or workplace to more than 400 independent artists. Studios, galleries and performance spaces occupy re-purposed industrial building, and the art scene is characterized by its many annual events, like the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association's spring Art-A-Whirl and fall Fine Arts Show, Art Attack at the Northrup King Building in November and Casket Arts Quad's Cache open studio events, also in November."

Minnesota ranks ninth for LEED Green Building

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual ranking of the top 10 states in the nation for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. Minnesota came in ninth.

“Minnesota has so many committed business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals who are using LEED to transform their built environment, producing many innovative spaces that will improve the health of our shared planet, as well as the health of the people who use those buildings every day,” says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC, in a press release.

Projects in the Twin Cities with LEED include the Wells Fargo Center and Campbell Mithun Tower, both in Minneapolis and both LEED Gold; and Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (LEED Certified).

Minneapolis rises from 6th to 5th place in creative cities ranking

According to a report conducted using data from the Western States Arts Federation, Minneapolis has moved from sixth place to fifth place in terms of its creative vitality.

The report, delivered to the Minneapolis City Council last week, shows that the city's "creative" jobs and organizations, in addition to residents' spending on books, artwork and performing-arts tickets, helped the city move up the list.

Minneapolis residents spent about $1,165 per year on the arts, the report said, compared to sports-related sales in the city amounted to about $534 million in revenue. Meanwhile, Minneapolis generated another $311 million in revenues from arts-related nonprofits. That total includes grants awarded to organizations or museums and ticket sales for those groups' events. 

Twin Cities among top 10 for Millennials

According to a recent survey by the news and culture website Vocativ, Minneapolis is sixth and St. Paul is eighth in livability for Millennials.

Factors in creating the index ranged from salary stats and employment rates to the price of a ounce of pot. "To reach our top 35, we started with the 100 most populous cities in America and used open-source Internet data to measure vital stats like salary and employment rates, and the cost of rent and utilities, as well as everyday concerns like public transportation, weather and crime," according to the website.

"We also considered lifestyle metrics such as the price of dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and an ounce of high-quality weed—you know, the important stuff—as well as access to live music and sports."

Matt's Bar makes Thrillist

Isn't it "fun" when outsiders decide which of our heralded eating establishments are "most iconic?" Still, we can't argue with Thrillist's selection of Matt's Bar for Minnesota, especially because of the Jucy Lucy. In the midst of a polar votex, the hot burger stuff with melted cheese is just the antidote for the cold.

Still, the writeup is curious. "Matt's qualifies as a restaurant because a real bar is stocked with hard liquor and is not frequented by families with kids. Most importantly, it's an iconic restaurant because Matt's invented the 'Jucy Lucy'. It's spell differently, here, because someone 'forgot to add the i', but it doesn't matter how you spell it, really, because the burgers have hot, beautiful cheese pouring out of the middle of the patty. Thank you, Minnesota."

Well, okay. You're welcome.

Minneapolis fourth-best city for young entrepreneurs

According to the personal finance site NerdWallet, Minneapolis is the fourth-best U.S. city for young entrepreneurs. To determine the ranking NerdWallet examined cities across the country, and measured such factors as access to funding (“the dollar value of commercial and industrial, or C&I, loans under $250,000 lent per capita in 2013 by banks with less than $10 billion in total assets) and opportunities for networking and mentorship.
“For those just starting a business, the right environment—surrounded by successful business leaders—is key, so we included the number of businesses for 100 residents in a city’s metro area,” Sreekar Jasthi wrote in the report. “To assess the availability of peers for networking, we included the percentage of residents in each city age 25 to 34 as well as the percentage of the population over 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree.” NerdWallet also looked at the local economies of each city, and cost-of-living or affordability.
About Minneapolis Jasthi wrote that the city “has a large population of residents age 25 to 34, who live in the Twin Cities’ business friendly environment—a place with a high number of businesses per 100 people, and a low unemployment rate. Minneapolis also ranked highly on NerdWallet’s list of the best cities for female entrepreneurs, with organizations such as Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota offering a wealth of resources.”

MSP airport concourse becomes an arts corridor

MSP International Airport is finalizing plans for its new “arts corridor” on the C Concourse, The New York Times recently reported. Under the guidance of Robyne Robinson, one of the Twin Cities top jewelry designers, a former news anchor and Airport Foundation MSP’s arts and culture director, the new corridor will create a “gateway” to the abundant arts and culture of the cities.
“We want to make sure that when people get off the plane, they know there’s a place they can go to and get to know us and get onto their flight and have a better understanding of what Minneapolis is, so that the next time they come through, they’ll want to see some film, see some art,” Robinson said.
The corridor includes a new screening lounge that will open in November. The lounge has modular and cinema-style seating with multiple high-definition screens; rotating programs highlighting local filmmakers; and a collapsible stage for lectures or small performances, according to the article.
While commercially run movie houses are available to passengers in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore airports, the MSP airport’s screening room is the first of its kind in the United States.

Works Progress' "Water Bar" at Crystal Bridges Museum

The Minneapolis-based Works Progress, comprised of Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson, is part of the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AK. Just inside the museum’s lobby is Kloecker and Matteson’s project Water Bar.
A partnership between Works Progress and the museum, as well as scientific researchers, environmental advocates, public employees, educators and local residents, Water Bar is an interactive installation that invites visitors to sample and compare water from three local sources: Beaver Lake (Bentonville), the Illinois River (Siloam Springs), and an artesian well in Sulphur Springs.
Representatives from the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and local educational institutions are staffing the bar. In addition to serving water, they engage visitors in conversations about drinking water, where it comes from and how to protect it.
The exhibition, with Water Bar, is on view until January 19, 2015. Works Progress is also participating in a State of the Art Symposium on November 14-15 to talk about how they engage artists, designers, organizers and creative professionals to realize public art rooted in place and purpose.
“Works Progress uses place, design and the shared experience of drinking water to focus our attention on local water sources,” says Chad Alligood, curator, Crystal Bridges. “The collaboration with Works Progress and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership represents a convergence of art and advocacy that engages the community in conversations about an issue that affects all of us.”
Matteson adds that, “We hope to install a local version of the Water Bar project in 2015 that will highlight Minnesota's water resources, and are currently seeking collaborators and support.”

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."
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