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What's next? Follow The Line

Welcome aboard The Line--the web magazine that chronicles creativity in Minneapolis/Saint Paul: creativity in entrepreneurship, design, environmentalism, the arts, retail, urbanism, neighborhood vitalization and revitalization, and wherever else we're meeting the future of our cities and our region.

Our title pays homage to several things: the old Twin Cities Lines, the streetcar company whose cars disappeared from our streets, but whose heritage has been reborn in our light-rail Hiawatha Line and the Central Corridor line that's (not uncontroversially) coming to birth as we speak. (We think of transit as symbolic of the new urban spirit that's emerging here.)

There's the line between our two cities, once so solid that generations of Saint Paulites and Minneapolitans never ventured onto each other's turf, and which is now evaporating, even as the cities retain pride in their very different histories and essences. And the line evokes design, that great master-discipline that effects our lives in so many subliminal and conscious ways, from the look of our breakfast tables and the type on our book pages and web sites to the feelings we get inside the Ordway or the Target Field stands.

We're all about how innovative people are creating a 21st-century city here: stylish, sophisticated, brimming with energy, but also livable, walkable, Green, soulful, lovable. We're about both the locally designed Droid app and the new open-air market; the local architect or artist working on a Paris project and the chef sourcing his eggs from Faribault County; the refugee entrepreneur working on Lake Street and the native-born social inventor working in Africa.

In 1991 I moved to the Twin Cities from New York for love--love of the Twin Cities, where I had lived briefly after college. I was in love with the spirit of this place--its unique blend of the down-to-earth and the boldly experimental. It was an ever-surprising blend of peaceful Midwestern greenery and nationally- and internationally-focused energy. It had style, a style of its own, and a hip factor that, at its best, wasn't imitative of the cool quotient of either coast. I just had to live here, and boy, am I glad I came, because all of this has only gotten better in the last twenty years.

The Line is going after the news--our Development editor, Chris Steller, and our Innovations and  Jobs editor, Dan Haugen, are among the best-connected and savviest reporters I know in a town full of fine journalists. But we're also looking to capture vision: the sparks of insight and hope that light up the brains of our best and brightest as they work to set up an edgy new company, take on a daunting design challenge, bring new life to a neighborhood, found a wicked-cool new shop or restaurant. We'll explain the gleam in their eyes and the joy in their work ethic as well as the nuts and bolts of their ventures. And with the help of the versatile Bill Kelley, who's shot photos for just about everybody in town and never made a dull or predictable image, we'll bring them and their worlds very close to you.

We won't shy away from trouble and controversy, but we won't leave it lying in your lap, either. Because we're about creativity, and answers, and hope, we will go after the people who are, as they say, living in the solution rather than in the problem, and we'll find out what they are thinking and doing about our dilemmas.

So read, click through, and enjoy: this Line leads to unpredictable places, and we'd love to have you along for the ride.

Jon Spayde is managing editor of The Line.

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