Envision St. Anthony Park in 2040
Sometimes we follow a plan, sometimes we follow the opportunities!
This project started in 2014 with a question: What would we like St. Anthony Park to look like in 2040? We collected ideas from neighbors through a survey, a community meeting, and articles in the Park Bugle. Then we compiled the results, writing five general visions for the neighborhood and 13 topic-specific ones. Next we planned to "back-cast" from those visions, developing roadmaps to get us there. An ambitious and worthy project-- and it remains so.
But in 2016 we were given the chance to take part meaningfully in the existing city planning process, so we shifted focus. As the City of St. Paul was updating its ten-year plan, it requested new ten-year plans from each of its districts, including our own District 12's St. Anthony Park Community Council (which includes a few of us on its board). So, instead, we've been working with the Council to influence that District 12 plan. In fact, the final draft begins with the topics of Equity and Climate Change.
Meanwhile, our 2040 visions still serve as a current and future resource. Read on!
Envisioning Saint Anthony Park:
Five Key Vision Statements
St. Anthony Park is a diverse but cohesive community of people with various backgrounds, income levels, and ages, where many participate locally in education, government, commerce, services, and other activities that benefit the community and wider world.
We live in a “20-minute neighborhood,” with many of our needs met within a short walk or transit ride. Exemplary neighborhood pockets are found throughout St. Anthony Park, with a variety of housing options, greenspace, urban farms and gardens, shops, schools, services, and public places to meet, work, learn, play, and linger year round.
Businesses, industry, organizations, and residents continue to reduce their energy use, even though most electricity and natural gas now comes from renewable sources. Small local businesses fill many our energy reduction and production needs.
Low-impact modes of transportation are the norm, organic materials are composted nearby, and waste is minimized through thoughtful shopping, reuse, upcycling, sharing, and recycling.
Life is fulfilling and our fears of severe weather events are greatly reduced. People know where to turn if they have trouble.
Neighbors gathered to imagine 2040
Photos by Duane Schriever
Big Ideas Are Welcome
Making a 2040 Plan
What Others Are Doing
Nothing we can do
can change the past,
but everything we do
changes the future.
Topical Vision Statements
These statements reflect our ideals for St. Anthony Park in 2040 on 13 topices, ranging from "Energy conversation and production" to "Broader action and advocacy."
Energy conservation and production. We no longer take our energy sources or energy equipment for granted. Our carbon footprint (emission of greenhouse gases) continues to decrease. Much of this is due to deep retrofits to conserve energy in houses, apartments, commercial, and industrial buildings. Most of the electrical energy and natural gas used in our residences, schools, businesses, and industry is produced or offset by renewable sources. Regardless of distance, we make conscious decisions to travel with a small footprint. Food purchases, preparation, and preservation are made with environmental impacts in mind.
Resilience. We are better able to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and rapidly recover from disruptive events. Improved resilience of the “built environment” (our buildings, roads, electrical grid, water supply, storm water systems) lessen the damage done by severe weather, reducing stress, property loss, and insurance costs. Our social bonds and emergency response networks help us plan effectively for emergencies and recover quickly when they occur, allowing us to help and be helped by neighboring communities. Everyone knows which community center to retreat to when natural and man-made disasters disrupt normal routines.
Transportation. In our 20-minute neighborhood, most of what we need is nearby – schools, services, markets, meeting rooms, restaurants, friends. A walking, rolling, and biking grid predominates, and pathways are smooth and clear year round. Meeting neighbors as we walk and bike helps keep us connected. The driving grid is subject to traffic calming, and pedestrians and nonmotorized vehicles have priority. Along the way, benches afford rest and shelters protect us from the weather. Signage and information make public transit easy to use. Shuttles and public transit link to the Green Line and to destinations further away. The Raymond Avenue bridge is pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, a comfortable and safe connecting artery in the neighborhood.
Housing. On the whole, residents have adapted to living in smaller spaces, sharing large houses when they wish. A growing diversity of housing units provides options for most people who want to stay or move here. New and remodeled units are designed with accessibility in mind. Even with an increased population, the neighborhood has kept or improved its visual appeal. Sufficient help is available for yard, garden, and building maintenance when we need it.
Business, organizations, and industry. A variety of local businesses and organizations provide us with expertise, jobs, goods, and services, and we support these vital partners. We rely on local expertise to design, build, retrofit, and maintain energy-efficient buildings. Before winter, they help us snug up living spaces and tune up all heating equipment. Internships are offered so students can “learn the ropes” in these professions. We appreciate that truck traffic to and from these partners is limited to a few streets and slow speeds, and that drivers recognize our need for safety and confidence.
Food. We celebrate the regular seasons of planting and harvest enjoyed on this land of which we are a part. Healthy, affordable foods are provided through urban farming, integrated aquaponic/hydroponic facilities, winter greenhouses, community gardens, personal gardens, and community-supported agriculture. Hampden Park Co-op, Speedy Market, and local farmers markets play important roles. Half of the food we consume here is grown, prepared, and preserved locally.
Greenspace. Both natural and groomed greenspaces are found throughout the community at ground level and on roofs. Most lawns are low-maintenance grasses, many with a mix of pollinator-friendly plants such as low-growing clovers. All development plans include public greenspace for walking, play, and refreshment, and land is reclaimed as opportunities arise. Numerous apartment residents and business property owners are active with the Garden Club. Native plant species flourish to support native pollinators. Private and community gardening areas abound and urban farms produce local food as well as job and learning opportunities.
Water. With the increased frequency of drought and flood, most properties now capture rain and snowmelt to curtail runoff and to enhance storage for later use. We conserve water because public water pre-treatment, supply, and wastewater treatment require energy. We have helped develop and promote approved systems to utilize gray water. The entire community protects water quality by preventing grass clippings, leaves, solvents, and other materials from washing into storm sewers. Salt use in winter is minimized by conscientious snow removal, approved use of studded tires, and innovations in road and sidewalk surfaces.
Community. As a community, we share – resources, skills, time, tools, vehicles, food. Swapping, bartering, and trading are commonplace in both personal and retail contexts. In “maker spaces” and elsewhere, we build, repair, reuse, and recycle. We actively support and collaborate with local health, spiritual, and learning institutions that help us discern and learn life-enhancing ways of living. We celebrate together with multigenerational and multicultural theater, public art, block parties, music making, shared meals, and other communal activities in community spaces.
Healthcare. We have local sources of in-home assistance and healthcare as they are needed, including volunteers and contractors with St. Anthony Park Area Seniors and informal networks of neighbors. A broad array of local healthcare providers serves our urgent, routine, acute, and chronic needs in all areas: medical, dental, psychiatric, and emotional. Pharmacies and social service agencies and providers are near our residential areas.
Education. Local schools, Luther Seminary, and the University of Minnesota are vital parts of the community, benefiting residents, organizations, businesses, industry, and the environment. The “classroom” is everywhere and includes adult learners, mentors, people who serve the students, and those who are served by students. Education includes knowledge of Earth systems, global studies, and life skills.
Waste. Very little waste is generated in our homes, schools, businesses, and industries. When we buy, we aim to maximize use and minimize recycling and waste. What little waste we produce is collected in a few shared public trash containers located on major streets. Organized waste collection minimizes noise, truck traffic, and air pollution.
Broader action and advocacy. We recognize that we are part of the global community – what we do here impacts other places in the world; what they do impacts us. As we do what we can locally to reduce and adapt to global climate change, we work to create global solutions through our practices and through education, communication, and advocacy. We also recognize that we are connected to the web of generations. Our actions impact children and their children after that. We work across generations, finding a way forward.