Next Generation of Parks spring events connect aspiration and inspiration

March 20, 2018 by Tom Evers

Good ideas implemented well will change how we see the world around us. The best ideas also act as a multiplier when shared. This is the theory behind the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series.

For the better part of this decade, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has hosted an event series that explores park and public realm innovations from around the world through the perspective of the people directly involved. The Next Generation of Parks events provide opportunities for us to explore how other communities are designing, funding, and activating their parks and public realm, and generate new ideas about how we might aspire to achieve new heights.

This week, we’re introducing a trifecta of talks over the next three months that look at some of the grand challenges of our time. Health and wellness, climate resiliency, and creating a sense of community are some of the areas for which parks can provide unique solutions.

On Thursday, March 22, we host Lily Yeh, founder of Barefoot Artists, an internationally recognized organization working to address inequities and trauma through art. Ms. Yeh will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, an institution built on Minneapolis parkland and funded in part through a Minneapolis Park Board levy established more than 100 years ago.

On April 19, we’re returning to one of the topics that launched the series – the RiverFirst vision and the transformation of the Upper River into new parks and connected trails with a presentation from our own Minneapolis Parks Fellow and renowned landscape architect, Bruce Chamberlain.

And on May 10, we’ll be exploring the role parks play in establishing community connections for new Americans immigrating from distant lands. Sabina Ali will share her experience activating Thorncliffe Park in Toronto by organizing the women who had recently immigrated to Canada and settled in the neighborhood surrounding this small community park.

The Next Generation of Parks series is designed to inspire and provoke thought. Participants meet other community members who share an interest in the topic and come away asking themselves how these innovations might work in Minneapolis. Ultimately, we have found that past presentations have formed a shared understanding of how we might address problems from a different perspective and how we might take a new approach through parks.

I hope you’ll join me this week and in the months ahead. The power of parks lies in people coming together around the best ideas and championing the important role parks can play in shaping the world around us.

Featured image: Lily Yeh, courtesy Barefoot Artists

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