Op-ed Picks: Does Minneapolis-St. Paul have an identity crisis?

“Twin Cities, we have a problem!” writes Jay Walljasper in the first of two MinnPost articles suggesting that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has an identity crisis. Walljasper says that people do not think of Minneapolis-St. Paul as a fun, viable place to live, even though it tops some quality-of-life lists and is home to many Fortune 500 companies.

We’re not on most people’s radar of lively, livable, progressive, prosperous places. The cities we compete with for business, jobs and well-educated young workers enjoy strong identities as attractive, interesting places. Seattle is Microsoft and Nordstrom. The Bay Area is high-tech and avant-garde culture. Denver is America’s beer capital and the Rocky Mountains. Portland is the capital of urban livability and young hipsters.

What we are best known for is ice, snow, wind chill, mosquitoes, the Mall of America and, if we are lucky, “Prairie Home Companion” — which does not exactly portray us as a dazzling hot spot of culture, innovation and global cosmopolitanism.

Walljasper says the root of the problem is that the Twin Cities does a poor job of telling its story. One way to start fixing that problem would be to come up with a better name. He suggests “MSP” as a better alternative than the seven-syllable mouthful “Minneapolis-St. Paul.”

Read Walljasper’s articles here. Tom Weber speaks with him this morning at 10.