For those of you who don't know the Mall of America is here in Minnesota. It has become a regional, national, and international destination. In the Twin Cities region, like it or not, it has become a destination. With 4.2 million square feet you would think that we would have figured out to take full advantage of the mall's success.
The Mall of America has to be one of the largest public/private spaces in the country. It does connect to LRT and buses, but has also become an automobile storage facility. Currently the mall supplies over 20,000 parking spaces and the built environment around the mall reflects this. Rather than challenge the mall and its parking space issue, why not take advantage of this destination to create a friendlier, healthier, and more diverse environment for all. The mall can be challenged to created a better mixed-use plan for the larger area.
I propose outdoor recreational areas, walking paths, and better bike facilities. Why not even throw a mix-used development in the plan. With its close proximity to the airport and Health Partners it could provide work force housing where people would only be a few LRT stops away from work and home.
The Mall of America can be a further success by embracing the surrounding area and tying in what happens inside the mall to what is happening outside. Is this a crazy idea, just might be, but what I do know is the MOA isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, so let's make it a positive anchor in the region.