National Geographic : 1976 Jul
(Continuedfrom page 25) probably not. The county wants to preserve the land for farming. Driving northwest, I'm never far from corn and soybeans and bales of hay. Minnesota seems half fields, half forests. I cross the Mississippi to the heart of Minneapolis and walk into Crystal Court. Wow! It's an indoor plaza, eight floors high, glass and Plexiglas-roofed, with trees, shrubbery, 1 and shops selling office Alew urban supplies, paintings, centers cheeses (left). Up at revitalize the second-floor level, the aging glassed-in skyways- hearts air-conditioned now, of cities heated in freezing win ters-connect to ten more blocks of shops and offices. It's a show piece of downtown regeneration. An urbanologist has estimated that in our big cities the typical central building site has been reused at least four times since 1800. Minneapolis started late. At this meeting of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, there were fur trappers until 1820, loggers and saw mills by 1850, flour mills by 1870.... A central site was cleared in 1969, to be rebuilt in the spirit of architect Victor Gruen; glassy new buildings, a pretty mall for pedes trians, lots of parking. That's what he en visioned for Fort Worth in 1956. It became a prescription for dying downtowns across the nation, with financial support from the Fed eral Government. From the 51st floor of the new IDS Tower I look down on redeveloping Minneapolis, the new Institute of Arts, the new Orchestra Hall. A third of the immediate area is parking lots-more than were dreamt of in Gruen's philosophy. And there's the 100-acre Cedar-Riverside project near the University of Minnesota, intended to house 30,000-a planned town within a town, in place of unplanned sprawl. Back to the great indoors, shoppers flock to the climate-controlled, glass- and plastic roofed Crystal Court in downtown Minne apolis. With shops, restaurants, a theater, and a hotel, the "people center" is one of a new breed of business and cultural com plexes intended to revitalize inner cities.