University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

River Life, a broadly inclusive program of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, uses social media, a digital atlas, and case studies to define the discussions and practices that will create inclusive, sustainable rivers. 

About River Life


The University of Minnesota is a world-class comprehensive teaching and research university located in a National Park—the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area—overlooking one of the great rivers of the world. Yet the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities is a landscape that is both widely loved and highly stressed.

Therefore we are a broadly inclusive program, open to students from any major, faculty from a host of disciplines, and community partners who are focused on river sustainability and inclusive planning. Learn More

Our Work 

Our Work

River Life explores the processes by which riparian systems are converted to urban water systems, locating key intersections of water, community, identity, and sense of place. Our work helps our communities, both on campus and off, move toward a more sustainable, inclusive relationship between the Mississippi River and the people that depend on its long-term health.

We initiate and support research projects, engage student learning both in the classroom and in co-curricular settings, as well as develop programs that reach campus and community partners. Learn More

River Talk Blog


As the voice of the program, the River Talk blog opens up a discussion about current river problems and opportunities by presenting new insights and raising questions that challenge old ways of thinking. To learn more, visit our blog.

See our recent blog series Katrina Plus Ten on the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and Living with the Mississippi, a series that examines the history of Twin Cities river flats communities.

River Life Twitter

Contact Us!
Send us a note at to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
The Once and Future River: Imagining the Mississippi in an Era of Climate Change
For more information about our John E. Sawyer Seminar Spring Symposium “The Once and Future River: Imagining the Mississippi in an Era of Climate Change” which took place at Northrop on April 8-10, 2015, please visit the symposium web page.