152 Parks and Neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul
Starting out as two separate towns in the 1800s, today, Minneapolis and Saint Paul are thriving urban centers in Minnesota, whose close geographic proximity causes elements from one city to seep into the other. Despite each city growing into the other, both have distinct features that set them apart. Still, a conversation about one city will most likely not end without words about the other. The city of Minneapolis has the largest population in Minnesota and Saint Paul is the state capital. These cities can be viewed as twin worthy because they share many of the same political, educational, and cultural institutions.
However, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul have independent municipalities with clear borders, and they have different heritages that influence each region. Scandinavian and Lutheran influences have shaped Minneapolis, while Saint Paul’s French, Irish, and German Catholic background has lived on in and can be seen in its architecture. Minneapolis is often described as hip, young, and modern, while Saint Paul is said to have a European city feel with charming old-word appeal. The blend of tradition, diversity, and cultural liveliness make Minneapolis-Saint Paul a unique place.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul is viewed as the region of neighborhoods because of how it is structured and the strong sense of community that exists. There are dozens of parks in Minneapolis-Saint Paul which have one of the best park systems in the country. Regardless of location within the Twin Cities, one can easily find a park which is mostly in walking distance from most residences. The neighborly roots of the region also come from the blend of rural and urban life in the society, as well as the lack of vast industrial zones. Furthermore, Minneapolis and Saint Paul are two of the least dense American cities which make them very livable and attractive places. The region does have urban problems such as poverty, but it does not overshadow the best characteristics of the Twin Cities.
Lisa Middleton’s modern and detailed map of Minneapolis-Saint Paul not only illustrates the parks and neighborhoods of the two cities, but it also depicts very specific highlights of the cities including Catholicism with the praying hands, the Capital building, waterway, and park, among other things. Her pictorial and cartographic blend not only identifies location and routes, but it hints at history and identity as well.
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