Monthly Archives: February 2009

Neighborhood Names

South Minneapolis neighborhoods

South Minneapolis neighborhoods

Google Maps always seems to be changing, often for the better. I’m not sure exactly when this changed, but today I noticed that the 81 official neighborhoods of Minneapolis now had their names on the map. Checking the Google Map for Seattle, I see that the (not officially “official”) 106 city clerk-designated neighborhood names are on there as well. Official neighborhood names, like townships (cf. Missing Municipalities), are often not the first thing that comes to mind when someone describes where they live. Technically, I have lived in Excel Township and St. Anthony East, but I was more likely to say “Thief River Falls” (or “Holt”) and “Northeast Minneapolis”. But now, it’s easy for someone to see they live in St. Anthony East, so why not get a little more local?

For informal names, I like Capitol Hill Seattle’s sociogeographic approach (including the neighborhood “watering hole”, for example). While I might not expect those names to show up on Google Maps, I do appreciate that Google hasn’t removed widely-used neighborhood names. The center of Uptown in Minneapolis, for example, is actually the intersection of the East Calhoun, CARAG, Lowry Hill East, and East Isles neighborhoods. Neighborhood neologisms like Madison Heights don’t make Google Maps either, but for those wondering what they should call their neighborhood other than “15th” or “19th” or something, Google Maps reminds them that, as far as the city is concerned, it’s Stephens.