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RIVER LIFE

The Next Generation of Parks 4: Turenscape

The Turenscape team, headed by a firm in Beijing, presented the “Resilient River” plan. I will remind you that I am addressing these plans alphabetically by lead team; no slight is intended by discussing this proposal last.

Resilience is a concept particularly apt in discussions of urban rivers. Most urban systems have a degree of resilience, although many could be more so, or could have their resilience in more diverse spheres. Resilience is an important concept in ecological and sustainability thinking; bringing those discussions to bear in planning and design of the urban river is an idea whose time has come.

The Resilient River plan starts from an understanding that the 21st Century is and will continue to be a time of far-reaching change: climate change, the global recession, coming energy shortages, all will challenge the ways we think, live, work, and play. To the Turenscape team, the Resilient River can and must be a focal point of Minneapolis’ strategies to address these challenges.

Like the other plans, the Resilient River attends to the river’s ecology, and to the designed interactions between the ecological potential of the river and the urbanist fabric of the city. Unlike the others, I think anyway, this plan calls out the concept of Social Equity as a value to be addressed and strengthened through river redevelopment.

This plan’s reorientation plan to bring urbanism more strongly to the river consists in part of a scheme to make each crossing a linchpin in a thematic cross-cutting urban corridor: the “education” corridor, the “green tech” corridor, and the like.

“Curate the Vision Through Time” is an interesting principle, with “curate” speaking to the need to steward, protect, yet organize and manage the vision. The discussion of how to implement this plan is quite clear that this is the work of decades, not years.

This closes my summaries of distinctive concepts and approaches brought forth by these design/planning teams. All of them have remarkable visions, and all have specific concepts that are well worth further scrutiny, debate, and planning. Please do take the time to go to the competition web site and join in the community conversation about the future of this central part of the city.

Never before, perhaps, has so much effort and expense been devoted in such a concentrated period of time to such a large part of the city’s space. This is a historic process and worth understanding in detail.

I plan to write again early next week on the public participation strategies developed in this competition, because I think they are remarkable and important.

And, of course, I will write about the resolution of this competition, when the results of the jury’s deliberation are announced later this month.

Stay tuned!

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One Comment

  1. Christi PikerMarch 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Wow. This looks like a dream. I pray that this will be accomplished to help build a stronger and peaceful community in Minneapolis. I’m optimistic!

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