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Continued: The Twin Cities brand: There's work to do

  • Article by: STEVE BERG
  • Last update: July 27, 2013 - 6:09 PM


6. A spirit of openness and social equity: Grade: B

Our state’s recognition of same-sex marriage signals a welcoming and tolerant social atmosphere that greatly benefits our region’s competitive standing. On a personal level, however, our reputation is quite different: Outwardly friendly, but cool, aloof and hard to get to know.


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My assessment doesn’t match perfectly the thinking of the larger group, but it’s close. Langley said that the sessions and resulting agenda “validated” the MSP region as a competitor in the global economy as long as all segments — public and private — can agree on a collaborative effort that turns talk into action.

“We moved the needle,” Dewar insisted. “There’s now a broader understanding that we’re competing with other cities for the same talent and that we can no longer afford to be complacent about it.”

Thirteen years ago, my Star Tribune colleague Dave Hage and I wrote a series of articles in these pages challenging the Twin Cities to “compete or retreat?” Retreat held the upper hand at the time, but, as Dewar points out, that’s no longer the case.

We’ve taken some major steps, just not enough of them. Indeed, today’s to-do list is remarkably similar to the one that Hage and I assembled 13 years ago. For the most part, we’d still rather admire our problems than tackle them. Maybe it’s time to borrow some positive advice from Lake Wobegon and find the courage to “stand up and do what needs to be done.”


Steve Berg is a Minneapolis writer and urban design consultant.

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