Minneapolis Softens its Approach to the Mighty Mississippi

Chris Bentley describes the first piece of an ambitious plan to return portions of Minneapolis' Mississippi River coastline to a more natural state, and encourage public access and redevelopment in the process.

"The Minneapolis Parks Department has commenced its RiverFirst Initiative, a plan to return portions of the city’s Mississippi River frontage to a more natural state by 2016," writes Bentley. "The city hopes to position the river at the center of an ecologically focused urban development strategy that will guide growth for decades to come through strategic interventions at seven points along the waterway."

He describes the design for Scherer Park, by Berkeley-based Tom Leader Studio and Boston’s Kennedy & Violich Architecture (TLS/KVA), the first of these interventions to move forward.

“Sometimes I think of our design process as stripping away the thin industrial layer that covers the site to reveal the river as it actually is,” said KVA’s Sheila Kennedy. “So words like ‘new’ and ‘restore’ don’t really capture the idea that the hard bounded pool-like river we see today is in fact a constructed reality.”

Full Story: River Town

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