« Energy in the City. | Main | Training »

Sore of Minneapolis

Diary entry 2 on the 13th day of February, in the 2008 year.
I was given the task to find social design problem in my home city of Minneapolis. This project gave me a real difficult time. I could not think of anything. I spent nights racking my brain for something, but nothing came. It was at this time that I had the thought that I might be able to think of something if I saw it happen. With this thought in mind I traveled to downtown Minneapolis.
Inspiration was still the elusive beast as I meandered the streets. I saw many things that could have troubled the hearts of some. I saw homeless people on the streets. At first I thought that perhaps this was the problem that I could help to fix. But as I walked by, I thought no. This is not what I want. Many people address this, and many of them have better thought than I. So why should waste my energy into something that people with more expertize than me can not seem to fix. With this dark thought I gave a dollar to the man and continued on my way.
I had given up trying to find a source of inspiration. Nothing was going to come to me so I decided to not worry about it. Instead I let my mind and eyes wander. They, as usual, came to rest on the beautiful buildings that decorate the landscape. These buildings were created with such a skill that it impresses me almost everytime that I gaze upon them. They also give me hope that I may one day be able to create such buildings, once my trials are done of the U. With this thought in mind I started to walk down the streets enjoying the buildings, until I saw something that made pause.
This pause was not due to the affect of seeing a building so grand that it makes you breathless. No, it was in fact quite the opposite. I saw a building that was so hideous that it made me think that it was hurting all of Minneapolis by being there. In an instant I knew what it was, and that made me even sicker. It was the Low Income housing of Riverside Plaza, more commonly known as The Crack Stacks.
This building was created to provide people with low income a place to live. The concept was that these people have little money and need a place to survive the harsh Minnesota winters. This idea is an extremely caring thought. However what was built was definitely not.
This building was meant for poorer people, and it looks like the builders wanted to drive that fact home. It juts up from the earth, looking as hideous as can be. The siding of this building looks like the contractor went to the companies and asked for a bunch of free samples, and instead of choosing one they used them all to create it. This gives it the feel that it was just thrown together. I know that many people do not respect this building, because when I first saw it, it was introduced as the Crack Stacks. I actually had to look up the real name once I was back, because no one knew the real name. It really made think that the goal of this building was to drive home the fact that the people that live there are poorer.
It just so happened in that moment of disgust, inspiration finally paid me a visit. I thought that we as a society should not let this happen. These people have a hard enough life. Why should we make it worse by making them go that each night. We should design them a building that actually looks like a respectable home.
That was it. This was the idea that I would embrace for my blog. I think that we should renovate the building. We need to help poorer people have a respectable place to live. As of yet I have not found an organization that is willing to put the time and resources into such a task. But I will continue my search for one. Until then we will just have to deal the sore of the Minneapolis skyline.