About Ideas

We are always looking for new ideas about how we can improve. Post your idea, share it with your online community to help it garner votes and attention. You can also vote, follow and comment on ideas that you support - you’ll receive updates on them too!

Afinstrom x over 5 years ago

This is a relatively simple idea in comparison to some of the more high-flown propositions.  It comes about simply becasue I live in the city proper and would like to grow some of my own food, specifically vegetables and chickens for eggs.  In researching city ordinances, I found them to be very restrictive. 

Currently, in order to have laying hens one has to get permission from 80% of their neighbors within 100 feet.  This can be around 20 houses.  I would like to see this changed.  I believe ANY household should have the right to keep four-six hens per property without any special permit.  If a person wishes to keep more than six hens, the above permit would then apply.

Housing them is the other issue.  If I am reading things correctly, privacy fencing all around would be necessary in most instances.  I believe this should be relaxed.  That if the hens are kept further than 20 feet from the nearest house, this should be sufficient.  The requirements to keep the housing in good repair should be adhered to stringently, as this will keep our city looking nice.

The overall idea would be to make it easy for any household to provide itself with a source of sustainable protein.  Chicken can also eat kitchen scraps and keep that fro being "waste".

Composting.  I could not find specific information on this for individual houses, only for community gardens.  Ordinances should be clarified to specify composting is allowed per property.

Vegetable gardens.  Currently the ordinance read that properties must have an "erosion-proof" surface.  While I do not dispute the sense of this, we do not need our neighborhoods going down the drain, it does present problems in gardening.  If I wish to turn my front yard -- currently an un-utilized area -- into a vegetable garden, one could argue that the garden plots are not "erosion-proof" as they have exposed dirt. I would very much like to see a backyard, or front yard garden "movement".  Using these spaces would enable persons who so desired to supplement their diet. 

I understand we currently have community gardens but it is simply not the same thins.  One's yard is space already owned by them and could be utilized for food production.


0 Comments 9 Votes Acknowledged

Russ Henry over 5 years ago

We need once again to locally grow most of the food we consume. Localized food production has the power to bind communities together, improve public health, strengthen local eco-systems, reduce climate change, and grow culture. 

Food security is an issue that can't be ignored by those in our communities who have nothing to eat, and should no longer be ignored by those who have till now chosen conveinence over community health. We need to change food handling rules, set asside land for agricultural purposes within urban coridors, compost all of our vegetative waste, and create purchasing guidlines within large institutions in order to accomodate local food production. Most of all we need to support small scale local farmers by purchasing the food they produce so that we may together re-grow the most important aspect of our local food economy.  

12 Votes Acknowledged

Promote sustainability through the awareness and practice of responsibilty for environment, nutrition, energy generation and consumption with an emphasis on the integration of apparently disparate disciplines into an evolving construct of human integrity. This is done through the simple process of actually taking responsibilty. There is no magic pill. If we consume more natural resources than we perpetuate than we deminish that supply. If we deplete more of our own bodies resources than we replenish than we eventually expire. For every action.

Sustainability is a partnership, a commitment from one body to another, humanity with the planet, our personality with our body, our needs with our expectations, our visions with our willingness to learn.

As we endeavor to prosper we must also replenish.

For a community to thrive it must remain connected.

With each action to create something new, in transportation, in business, in finance or in government the question of "But can it be sustained?" must be raised. If it cannot, it must not begin.

0 Comments 4 Votes Acknowledged

How will the casually engaged metropolitan resident and business owner know if the region is accomplishing Thrive MSP goals? How could the Metro Council build on the excellent citizen participation now ongoing in developing the 2040 plan? I think measures of progress, defined now and prominently reported on the Council web page and in publications, would go a long way toward community understanding of and commitment to our region's goals.

Being very public and succinct about quantifiable goals also increases Thrive's transparency and accountability. A visually appealing and easy to understand dashboard that tell us, and the years roll on, whether we are moving toward or away from each goal would keep everyone's focus on the big, bold targets we're reaching for as a region that aims to thrive into the future.

0 Comments 3 Votes Acknowledged

We need Agriculural Preservation Districts that grow food for people living in the Twin Cities.  Where is all this food coming from that Twin City residents eat? Who and how are they growing it?  Most of it is trucked in. Too much infrastructure is needed to support such a system.  The Twin Cities should be a model for metropolitan food soveriegnty.  The highest and best use for some of our our land is to grow food (not houses or commodity crops).  Design infrastructure AROUND Agricultural Preservation Districts (central Scott County, western Hennipen County and Carver County, eastern Dakota and Washington County).  Eagan used to be a market garden farming community, but infrastructure and subsequent housing forced those farmers out.  Most got out all together.  Vegetable farming is not a high profit margin business to begin with and then slap on increased distance to market and it became altogether unprofitable.  Farms within the Agricultural Preservation Districts would grow vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, honey and maple syrup for Twin Cities markets (Farm to School, grocery stores, resturants).

33 Votes Acknowledged

The world is different. World and U.S. populations are deacreasing. However, Twin Cities population has stayed about the same because of immigration from dry parts of the U.S., especially the Southwest where water shortages cannot support the populations that once lived there.

Even Minnesota with good water resources has to be extremely careful about water use. Most hard surface run-off is captured in swales and cisterns. The water utility supplies potable water for only those uses that require potability, not for toilets or yards. Gray water re-use is extensive.

More than half the vegetables consumed in the Twin Cities are grown within the metro area. Almost all yards have a vegetable garden. Urban farmers tend the gardens in yards of those people who don't garden. Many more community garden spaces are available, especially near apartment and condominium buildings. Most other foods are sourced regionally, since transportation costs soared. 

Public transportation is widely available. Bicycle routes are extensive. A network of streets are dedicated to human powered transportation. Private cars are absent. Car sharing and pickup truck sharing are readily available for those occasional load-carrying trips. Much shopping is done at neighborhood businesses. Much less shopping occurs because we are no longer geared for consuming.

Rail lines include passenger service so people can get to any Minnesota city or town that had a rail line in 2010. High-speed rail turned out not to be desirable once people discovered extensive coverage was possible by bringing existing lines and equipment up to original standards.

The amount of coal, oil, and natural gas that is used in down 90% from 2010 levels. The increased difficulty of extraction has increased the cost and made them less available, as has public pressure too maintain a stable atmosphere.

Building codes emphasize much higher insulation, but most builders choose to exceed the minimum requirement. Exterior walls are a foot thick or more. Furnaces and boilers are miniscule as compared to those in the early 2000's. District heating is much more common -- even mini-districts of one or two city blocks. The little fossil fuel that is used for heating feeds cogenerators so that the fuel generates electricity and the heat left over is captured for buiding heat or process heat.

Many city blocks have evolved to eliminate the alley, creating a large common space. On many of these blocks people have found ways to combine several single family homes into a larger building to eliminate many exterior walls and increase the energy performance. People know their immediate neighbors and cooperate extensively.

Many metro industries have come into existence using modern technology to create the goods used in the metro area.

0 Comments 4 Votes Acknowledged

Ann Braden over 5 years ago

At Pat Born’s presentation this morning he invited staff to share ideas about ThriveMSP.  Perhaps it was the record breaking heat in July and the massive chunks of Greenland disappearing that got me thinking, but I do hope the Council Thrive Team is taking into account the impact of accelerating global climate change in developing future scenarios for the region—it has enormous implications for water and energy use,  agriculture,  sustainability, infrastructure, migration rates, municipal services,  housing, employment etc., etc.  I’m a bit of an alarmist on this topic, but the possibility of not having an inhabitable planet thirty years from now may make Thrive MSP 2040 a moot plan. There are certainly climate scientists that could prognosticate on what Minnesota might expect in terms of our climate thirty years hence and I hope the Thrive planning team will tap into their expertise.

31 Votes Acknowledged

Mary x over 5 years ago

The Twin Cities needs more density at the urban cores of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with more public transportation options, more opportunities for bike routes, and higher walkability.

37 Votes Acknowledged

Cities across the metro have regulations that systematically incentivize low-density, automobile-dependent development patterns, even in areas that are well-served by transit. Starting with areas that are well served by transit such as 1/4 mile radii of LRT, BRT, and Rapid Bus stations, we should implement pilot zoning reform measures that remove things like parking requirements, density caps, and lot coverage maximums. Keeping those sort of suburban style zoning regulations in place in areas that are well served by transit makes no sense. The best part about doing this is that it costs essentially nothing, just whatever the cost would be for planning departments to conduct whatever studies they deem necessary to confirm that this is in fact a good idea. 

21 Votes Acknowledged

Brendon x almost 6 years ago

The Upper Midwest has already seen a 31 percent increase in heavy precipitation events since 1958.  The Twin Cities needs to prepare for increasing flooding, more heatwaves and more severe weather.  We should also preparing for the potential immigration of people from areas that will be impacted to an even greater extent.  We need to plan our buildings, transportation and social infrastructure systems not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but to be more resilient in the face of rapid changes.

38 Votes Acknowledged