St. Paul and Minneapolis make up the Twin Cities. The pair is a pretty fascinating phenomenon. They sit just under 9 miles apart… they’re so close they could almost be one city. Yet they couldn’t be more different from one another. The Twin Cities are one of the most concentrated areas in the world for Fortune 500 companies. Massive behemoths like Target, United Health Group, 3M, Best Buy, General Mills and Land O’ Lakes have chosen the Twin Cities to house their corporate headquarters. And this is only a small portion of the 17 massive corporations that reside in the area.
Biking, sailing, golfing, skiing and even relaxing, residents have a huge range of outdoor activities available from season to season. Combine these active lifestyles with short commutes, low unemployment, and better access to healthcare, and it all adds up to Forbes’ declaration that Greater MSP is the least stressful of any major metropolitan city. With the nation’s largest park system, a chain of five city lakes and nearly a dozen downtown farmer’s markets, the area has lead the country in health and fitness for two years in a row. The region also has over 1,100 miles of dedicated off- and on-street bikeways — that’s enough to pedal from Minneapolis Saint Paul to New York City!
A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential. Greenery isn’t a luxury or a privilege: it should form a vital part of any urban ecosystem. Green space can reduce aggressive behaviours in struggling neighbourhoods; clean polluted air; and even significantly improve a person’s sense of wellbeing, even when seen from the home.
According to some studies, urban dwellers are at significantly increased risk of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. The pace of modern life likely contributes to stress levels and unease, but the spaces in which we live are also a vital part of the puzzle. Some urban designers are setting their sites on one key part of the mental health epidemic: loneliness. The health benefits of exercise are too long to list: from reducing obesity to combatting depression, physical activity is crucial to human happiness and wellbeing — but many large cities aren’t conducive to an active life. Air pollution levels are dangerously high across the world and limited space in which to exercise doesn’t help.