Finalists Present Their Projects in Competition to Redesign Minneapolis' Riverfront


The Turenscape team's proposal for a renewed Minneapolis riverfront.

Minneapolis, already named the country's most bike-friendly city, is about to get quite a makeover. In September, the city's Park and Recreation Board announced a design competition to create a new image of the Upper Mississippi Riverfront. In November, four finalists out of a pool of 55 were announced, each presenting a design for the 220 acres of parkland, neighborhoods and business districts on both sides of a 5.4 mile stretch of the river, from the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis to northern edge of the city.


The Stone Arch Bridge, in Minneapolis. Photo: Chris Yunker"> under a Creative Commons license.

This week, the four teams presented their designs at the Walker Art Center. The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition is the largest such event in the city's history. Cecily Hines, President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, said:

The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition will demonstrate how great design, basedon innovative thinking and technology, community input, and fiscal and environmental responsibility, can produce a vision for the Upper Riverfront that meets the demands of current, and future, generations.

The four finalists are Ken Smith Workshop of New York City, Stoss Landscape Urbanism of Boston, TLS/KVA of Berkeley, and Turenscape of Beijing. Each team's design has a lot going for it, and all are admirable for their attention to detail and for providing practical explanations of how they'll go about their projects, including timelines for the next fifty years.

Stoss's project, "Streamlines," focuses on redesigning the upper Mississippi as a civic space, reconnecting Minneapolis residents often disconnected from the river by railroads, highways and industrial zones. They even propose turning old barges into swimming pools and amphitheaters, making the river a public gathering place. Turenscape's "The Resilient River" puts the emphasis on social equality and ecological renewal, while TLS/KVA's "RiverFirst" is about health, mobility and green economy. Ken Smith sees the river as "a catylyst for renewal through new and enhanced park, infrastructure and ecological systems."


An image from the "RiverFirst" proposal.

In the end, any of the four proposals would be a boon to the city's riverfront development. The competition is sponsored by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation in partnership with the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota College of Design. The winner will be announced on February 10. You can watch videos of each proposal here.

More on Minneapolis, a great green city:
Find Out Why Bicycle Magazine Named Minneapolis #1 Bike-Friendly City in the US (Video)
Three Weeks In, Minneapolis' Bike Share Program is a Real Nice Ride
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