Climate change could make Mpls the new NYC, says The Economist [VIDEO]

Mpls_NYC.jpg
adamsfelt and MTAPhotos via Flickr
Minneapolis skyline and, right, New York City preparing the subway for Hurricane Sandy.
If we survive tomorrow's Mayan apocalypse, we may have to start contending with a more insidious doom: rising oceans. But one way to offset at least the financial punch of climate change, says The Economist's economic correspondent, Ryan Avent, is for people to start migrating. Specifically, migrating to places like Minneapolis.

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Avent lays out his Minneapolis theory in an on-camera conversation, released this morning, with the magazine's globalisation editor, John Parker, and briefings editor, Oliver Morton, following the U.N.'s climate conference in Doha, Qatar. The scene looks like what you might expect from an Economist video: British accents, lots of books behind Avent.

Before he gets to the possible benefits of mass migration, Avent offers some caveats. Chiefly, any moves will only be possible "so long as we don't hit really high temperature increases that might make agriculture completely unproductive and lead to the end of life on earth."

Details like those aside, Avent says, "I think what we would expect to see is that locations like lower Manhattan become less attractive over 5, 10, 15, 20 years, and locations on higher ground or further north would be more attractive."

High and dry means, he continues, "for instance, a city like Minneapolis, which is going to be warmer in the winters and... less vulnerable to coastal flooding."

"If it's possible to relatively smoothly relocate people and activity as the planet warms," Avent says, "a lot of the costs of rising sea levels, droughts, and shifting into different places where crops grow well could be substantially reduced." (Minnesota farmers still did notably well this drought-stricken season).

Avent lists some factors that will influence whether or not Minneapolis becomes the new New York. The first is if governments allow and facilitate it. The second, "the odds we get catastrophic events that occur too quickly for people to adjust" (that fun end-of-the-world, Lady Liberty floating off into the Atlantic scene again). The third, the extent to which Manhattan perseveres, and does things like plot density on higher ground and re-route subways instead of just building flood walls.

The key metric, though, will be time. If Minneapolis is going to be the city of the future, it will require a gradual process of building up infrastructure and preparing for the influx of displaced coast-dwellers. "If people start moving to Minneapolis," Avent asks, "is Minneapolis going to have the resources to build more roads, more electrical and plumbing infrastructure, more railways if that's what's necessary, more airports?"

As Morton explains before the end of the video, climate change will produce adaptations and impacts. For residents of warmer regions, migration will be an adaptation. But as those people stream north, Minnesotans might start feeling migration as an impact.

Here's the full video of the conversation:


Related, from our sister paper, the Village Voice: Hurricane Sandy Is New York's Katrina: Floods, fear, and FEMA failures [Cover]

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33 comments
andreas.nettmayer
andreas.nettmayer

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/05/why-you-cant-be-blase-about-next-worlds-tallest-building/5665/

I don't think minneapolis has the infrustructure to actually handle growth. It's just urban sprawl at this point. Protect the wetlands and get rid of surface area parking. Urban growth boundary. Way better public transportation. A few massive towers could be an option too, as discussed above.

I love the idea of doing a city from scratch, with all that we've learned about environmental issues and land use and materials science being incorporated.

Karen Ingeman
Karen Ingeman

I love the arts and music scene...now we just need to support it more.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

People here complain about people from Chicago, Gary and Somalia.  Wait 'til they get a load of New Yorkers, whining about how hard it is to park, or get a decent sandwich or cup of coffee, and how hard it is to do anything, ever.

Chris Holm
Chris Holm

That's my theory I've been saying lately - Minneapolis could be the next metropolis as southern areas become too hot and rising seas push people from the coasts.

Stefanie Megan Brown
Stefanie Megan Brown

Eew I like this place it's clean, there aren't rats and garbage smell, people are cool as f*ck and the accents aren't half as obnoxious. MPLS ALL DAY!

webcelt
webcelt

Quick, build a wall along the Mississipppi!

Personally, I'd rather become the new NYC because of our theater scene and parks. So let's stop this global warming thing before we get an influx of people dropping their Rs.

Aaron Rodriguez
Aaron Rodriguez

MPLSis bogus as hell but i do like the music scene here

Aaron Rodriguez
Aaron Rodriguez

yeah idk now about that i just moved here from Queens in jan off last year and it took some adapting for one the liq stores close to damn early and food carts dont run all night as well as other food sources

Jeanne Griffin
Jeanne Griffin

I'm a New Yorker who moved to Mpls in 2006. I have moved back to NY to start a business. When it becomes successful I'm taking all that New York cash and moving Mack to Mpls. NY sucks.

Ray Minneapolis
Ray Minneapolis

I'm with Jim Croce, New York's NOT my home. Must advocate a balance of density and space! Minneapolis is getting far to attractive to ruthless predatory developers who should stay in Chicago.

Adrienne Schaumburg
Adrienne Schaumburg

Ew. We're fine just the way we are. I have no desire to be the next NYC. I'd live there, otherwise.

John Malkovich
John Malkovich

Good for my realestate value, to bad I'll be dead. :'(

Nick Merchant
Nick Merchant

When you think you are awesome in New York there is always someone or something to knock you down a peg, living here is very humbling.

Jen Boyles
Jen Boyles

MPLS and NY'ers have one thing in common: They both like to talk about how awesome they are

Nick Merchant
Nick Merchant

Minneapolis will never compare to NYC in any way, especially culture. I love Minneapolis, it is my home town but NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world and there is nothing like it.

A1batross
A1batross

Ryan Avent needs to ixnay on the igrationmay. We don't need them East Coast flat-shoed fools. Chicago is RIGHT THERE, use it.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

I grew up in Queens and have been here since I was 13. I'm still considered a carpetbagger.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Ryan Avent needs to ixnay on the igrationmay. We don't need them East Coast flatshoed fools. Chicago is RIGHT THERE.

Anne Castro
Anne Castro

I'm an ex-New Yorker. And I love living in Minneapolis. However, the lack of mass transit and solid urban planning only detracts from the greatness of the Twin Cities. Just, IMO, of course. :)

Anne Castro
Anne Castro

Minneapolis will need a much better light rail system before it can come close to rivaling NYC. Spend money on mass transit, not more roads; make it harder to park on main thoroughfares (ticket and tow); and stop reducing roads like Lyndale Ave to single lanes while traffic continues to increase; add more left turn arrows. Make it easy to commute to jobs in the outer suburbs by expanding the hours buses run and eventually getting light rail out there too. Stop setting up bike lanes on streets like First Ave that sit between the curb and parked cars and then turning it into a two way street. This can't be safe for bikers - who should be encouraged to continue riding. Hire urban designers and planners from NYC or Chicago. The "small-town approach" to urban planning here is mind-blowing. Admittedly, I see it getting better with the light rail system expanding. BUT when you have townships like Golden Valley refusing to approve the light rail going through there and effectively killing the expansion plans, it's not right. Why should one town ruin it for the rest of us? When we reduce the cluster-eff that is driving and commuting in the Twin Cities and Minneapolitans and St. Paulians find it unnecessary to own cars, then maybe, just maybe, this can become a vital, vibrant, world class city. You can tell I give this a lot of thought. :) What a joy it would be to just get on a train in the a.m., drink my coffee, read the paper or snooze instead of sitting in traffic!

Ross Levine
Ross Levine

Meh, I still think we'll all be dead before such a thing would likely even come to pass.

Jeremy Hop
Jeremy Hop

NY if you like being crammed into such a dense area. City of Minneapolis if you like a balance of density and space.

Eric Shawn Smith
Eric Shawn Smith

Yeah I'll take 3 ft long rats and subway muggings over Minneapolis ANY day.

Peter Gokey
Peter Gokey

Until it goes underwater from the ice caps melting.

keny1
keny1

@swmnguy But unlike the people from Chicago, Gary, and Somalia, the New Yorkers who will come here won't be going on the welfare dole.

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