Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is Dog is a City's Best Friend?

In a previous post, I noted that at Lake Calhoun on a beautiful day the dogs almost outnumbered the people. Ok, so it's an exaggeration, but there are indeed a lot of dogs in this city. My apartment building allows dogs, and not just small ones (up to 70 lbs, in fact!). It's not yet clear to me if this is common practice in Minneapolis. I can tell you that it was very much not common in Cleveland. Back in NE Ohio, you were lucky to find a building that let you have a cat.

So I see a lot of dogs these days. It's quite impressive. I see people walking their dogs, running with their dogs, biking with their dogs, etc. I see small dogs, big dogs, fat dogs, young dogs (puppies! yay puppies!!), friendly dogs, barky dogs, tough dogs, and cute-little-put-it-in-your-pocket toy dogs.

But curiously enough, there is something I don't see around town. You would think that with all these dogs, you would see a lot of this thing. But the mystery object is rarely sighted.

What is this mystery item? You guessed it: dog poop. Minneapolis is doing a damn good job enforcing its litter laws. I have seen almost no dog poop in the city, which is really quite astounding given how many dogs are running around.

Cleanliness is an interesting aspect of city life. It often receives little attention from urban planners, who know full well that humans are perfectly capable of living in squalor and filth for generations without noticing it. Maybe of this planet's great metropolises are indeed dirty places (think New York, Paris, London). I say this without judgment--the aforementioned cities are fantastic places to live. But they are indeed messy places, and dog poop is among their blights.

Somehow, Minneapolis has managed to get the problem under control. Consequently, the city is much more attractive to visitors. Responsible dog ownership and well-enforced litter laws have ensured that dog-citizens have a secure place in the city's life.

Coming this Wednesday: Urban Supply Chains


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