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More Evidence of Kids in Downtown Neighborhoods

Gold Medal Park, nestled in the Mill District mixed-use neighborhood in Minneapolis has been a draw for downtown residents.

More parents with children are living in downtown Minneapolis neighborhoods, says a recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We’ve reported on this trend in places such as Portland, and have made the case that cities need to provide the parks and playgrounds that parents want if they are to have truly diverse neighborhoods from young to old.

The article makes it pretty clear what downtown parents want — parks and playgrounds.  Given the lack of backyards and schools in the downtown Minneapolis area, a group of parents “agreed the single thing most necessary to make the neighborhood more livable was a playground” and they started lobbying the city. A playground is now being built. A city council aide says also that “there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of young children living downtown, which is supported by the number of calls we’ve gotten requesting family-friendly areas.” (The city also recently built Gold Medal Park along the riverfront, which is cited as another draw.)

There is an issue of space — and developers and planners may be reluctant to take land away from buildings. But a lot of recreational activity can fit into a one or two-acre site (i.e. about one square block), more units can be added to buildings to make up for it and more people — parents in this case — will want to live in this setting. In the end, perhaps the real test of what makes a neighborhood livable is whether it is kid-friendly — and parks are necessary to making that happen.

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