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The Perfect Architecture Of Minnesota Landscape DesignThe city of Minneapolis can certainly be proud of many things. They are attached to St. Paul, which is home to the largest mall in the United States. It is a beautiful city, with lots of charm and Midwest hospitality. Hotels are reasonably priced and have all the amenities you could ever want nearby. One of the things Minneapolis can be proud of is the fact that when population density is used as a marker, the city boasts the most park square footage per person than anywhere else. In fact, 17% of the city is made up of park and park lands. This is not a feature that happens by accident. The city made it a priority. It had plenty of funding and support for its landscape architects, one of whom was Horace Cleveland, one of the foremost landscape architects of his time, and is responsible for many of the most beautifully preserved historical areas in the northeastern United States.
Horace Cleveland assessed the existing natural landmarks, and from there, he designed parks that were both useful and esthetically pleasing. Minneapolis, Minnesota landscape design continues to be amongst the best in the country, and it all began with Horace Cleveland's vision and legacy.
One of the features of the Minnesota landscape design is to reuse of existing structures. There were railroad lines and railroad bridges that were no longer in use. The ingenious landscape architects utilized these lines and bridges to connect the many walk ways and bicycle paths that were being created. With almost 90 miles of bicycle paths, Minneapolis can boast that they have the second highest number of bicycle commuters, and many don't even let the cold and snow stop them. This bit of the Minneapolis, Minnesota landscape design is perhaps the reason Forbes named Minneapolis the fifth cleanest city in the world.
Using existing features was a very important factor in Horace Cleveland's landscape design. Minnehaha Park is the home to Minnehaha Falls, which is over 50 ft in height. Not only is it the oldest park in the area, it is also one of the most visited. The Chain of Lakes is another example. These lakes can be used by the public for swimming, boating and fishing during the summer, and in the winter, they can skate. Just another example of how brilliant the Minnesota landscape design really is.
The oldest wildflower and bird sanctuary is also a direct result of landscape architecture at its best. It located in a park that is almost 60% the size of New York's central park. Theodore Wirth Park contains two of the city's five golf courses, and is also a good portion of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, which doesn't only cater to automobiles, but due to careful landscape design, also offers a bike path and a walking path for the entire 52 mile length.
The important key that one must remember when using Minneapolis as an example for excellent urban planning, and urban landscaping, is that it took a lot of foresight, a lot of talent, a lot of support, and mainly, a lot of cash. But as Minneapolis has shown us, the dividends are well worth it.
By: Joseph1 Smith1
Department of Landscape
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University of Sheffield