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RiverFirst Videos

North Minneapolis Youth Reimagine the Mississippi Riverfront from Minneapolis Parks Foundation on Vimeo.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is working with Juxtaposition Arts to bring youth voices and design ideas to the RiverFirst parks planning process. Juxtaposition Arts is a non-profit youth art education program and teen-staffed art and design enterprise and locally-rooted cultural development center. RiverFirst is a generational vision to transform the Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis into a culturally- and ecologically vibrant network of parks and trails with deep connections to the surrounding neighborhoods.

RiverFirst is a generational initiative to bring world-class parks and trails to the Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis. The first in a series, this film explores the RiverFirst vision and the significance of transforming 11 miles of once-industrial riverfront into dynamic community-based assets for residents and visitors. Through RiverFirst, the community will reshape the Upper Riverfront into a regional economic engine and world-class cultural and recreational destination. The second film will explore current and visionary RiverFirst projects. This film was produced in partnership with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board with funding from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

Special thanks to Adam Goss, Red Mike and Ryan Clark of SOS; Maura Rockcastle, Tom Leader and Erik Prince of TLS; Kate Lamers and Dawn Sommers of the Minneapolis Park Board; Bob Bruininks and Susan Hagstrom; and Sam Ero-Phillips and the Enviro Program students from Juxtaposition Arts.

For more information about RiverFirst, please visit our websites:

Created by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s 2015-2016 Research Assistants in Practice, graduate students Christopher Tallman, Han Do, Kelly Watters and Jonathan Fillmore, this video tells the story of how a future public park will capture, cleanse and reuse urban stormwater before it reaches the Mississippi River.

Water Works will demonstrate how public open space can play a substantial role in the stormwater equation in ways that cleanse urban stormwater, reduce non-renewable potable water use, minimize public investment in underground stormwater infrastructure, and normalize district stormwater partnerships.

The Research Assistants in Practice program is made possible through support to the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota College of Design. Thank you!

Next Generation of Parks Event Series

Mitchell J. Silver, Parks and Public Spaces: What’s next? | Next Generation of Parks™ Event, October 10, 2019 from Minneapolis Parks Foundation on Vimeo.

Mitchell J. Silver, Commissioner of New York City Parks, presents his extensive work in parks and city planning at the Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series on October 10, 2019 at Ralph Rapson Hall, University of Minnesota College of Design.

In his talk, Commissioner Silver shares how New York is concentrating on four critical aspects of parks:

1. Swapping out asphalt for greenspace
2. Planning for an aging population and multi-generational use
3. Seamlessly integrating the public realm through Parks Without Borders
4. Leveraging parks as “the first line of defense” in climate change

As Minneapolis and cities throughout the metropolitan area seek to equitably invest in our parks by connecting people to nature, adapting to a changing climate, and supporting community health, Commissioner Silver has a lot to share about the value of inclusion, planning for a new future, and thinking about who truly benefits from parks.

One of the most acclaimed urban planners in the United States, Commissioner Silver brings his characteristic humor and insight to this presentation featuring many parks under transformation in New York, altering the way residents and visitors experience some of New York’s most iconic destinations.

Dr. Robert Zarr, The Parks Prescription, A Next Generation fo Parks™ Event, May 2019 from Minneapolis Parks Foundation on Vimeo.

Recently featured in Time Magazine and on NBC Nightly News, Dr. Zarr shares his groundbreaking approach to chronic disease managements with parents, teachers, caregivers, nature lovers, wellness-seekers, and community health advocates.

Dr. Robert Zarr is a board-certified pediatrician at Unity Health Care, located in Washington, DC, where he cares for low-income and immigrant populations. He is the founder and medical director of Washington D.C.-based Park Rx America, a community health initiative to prescribe nature to patients and families to prevent and treat chronic disease and promote wellness. He previously served as the Park Rx Advisor to the National Park Service in his national advocacy to connect people to parks. You will often find him riding his recumbent trike on the Capital Crescent Trail.

This live recording was made on May 7, 2019 during Zarr’s talk at the Trailhead in Theodore Wirth Regional Park. The event also features Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, Tom Evers, the Executive Director of The Loppet Foundation, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Alisa Roth.

The 2018/2019 event series of Next Generation of Parks™ is presented by Minnesota Public Radio News, produced in partnership with the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and made possible with additional support from the American Society of Landscape Architects-Minnesota Chapter and Barr Engineering.

Robert Hammond, The High Line, A Next Generation of Parks™ event, March 2019 from Minneapolis Parks Foundation on Vimeo.

Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Friends of the High Line returns to Minneapolis nine years after his first talk at the Walker about New York’s High Line Park. Hammond reflects on the innovative park’s phenomenal story, including its impact on the community and how the High Line experience is influencing prominent adaptive reuse parks projects from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

In April 2019, the High Line celebrated its 10th anniversary together with the grand opening of its third section called the Spur. Hammond gives a sneak peek at the High Line’s future and an introduction to The High Line Network, a convening of visionary parks-makers around the intersection of design and community building.

This live recording was made on March 21, 2019 during Hammond’s talk at the Walker Art Center. The event also features Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, Tom Evers, Executive Director at the Walker Art Center, Mary Ceruti, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Senior Reporter, Brandt Williams.

This live recording was made on October 10th, 2019 during Silver’s talk at the University of Minnesota College of Design Ralph Rapson Hall. The event also features Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, Tom Evers, Senior Planner at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Carrie Ann Christensen, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Correspondent, Brandt Williams.

Bruce Chamberlain, RiverFirst: A Model for Urban Transformation | A Next Generation of Parks™ event, April 2018

Great cities choose pathways that achieve a collective imagination. In 2015, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation created the Parks Fellow program to achieve transformative efforts with the power to alter the trajectory of a city. Since its inception, the Parks Fellow seat has been held by urban designer and strategist, Bruce Chamberlain, FASLA.

In this presentation, Bruce discusses why the pathways between bold public initiatives and implementation have become so allusive and how cities can break through barriers to achievement, how RiverFirst and the Minneapolis Parks Fellow program are testing innovative models for achieving urban transformation, and the importance of the Parks Fellow program to our region. This event also features Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, Tom Evers.

 Lily Yeh, The Healing Art of Placemaking | A Next Generation of Parks™ event, March 2018

Lily Yeh, is a compassionate and charismatic visual artist, sculptor, and activist whose community art projects have transformed the lives of thousands of people from North Philadelphia, to Rwanda, and Beijing.

As Minneapolis initiates the historic Neighborhood Park Plan, a 20-year reinvestment in community parks, and seeks to reconcile decades of social injustice, Yeh’s practice of using art and beauty to heal can provide us with a roadmap to common ground.

On March 22, 2018, Yeh spoke to a crowd of 300 people at the Minneapolis Institue of Art. This event also features Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, Tom Evers, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Stephanie Curtis.

Gia Biagi, Urbanism & Civic Impact | A Next Generation of Parks™ event, October 2017

As Principal of Urbanism for Studio Gang, Gia Biagi is always thinking about civic architecture. She sees the role of parks designer as that of convener, and a source of empathy in times of change who can “meet the community where they are.” Biagi emphasizes that designers and placemakers should try to remain humble in the effort – always asking themselves “who’s not represented in the room.” She spoke about her work on Polis Station and the Civic Commons. This event also features Minnesota Public Radio’s Stephanie Curtis, and Sam Ero-Phillips, Tatiyana Gross, and Lanijah Warfield-Wright from Juxtaposition Arts.

Maurice Cox, Re-creating Detroit | A Next Generation of Parks™ event, November 2016

Maurice Cox is a nationally renowned planner and practitioner of democratic design and citizen planning. As Planning Director for the City of Detroit, Cox is leading a dramatic transformation that finds parks and public space at the intersection of design and social justice.

Called the “Champion of the Neighborhoods,” Cox is a convener, who helps community members understand that it’s possible to change the world through design. This evening, Cox will share with us his compelling story of creative community engagement in Detroit and open the door to an inspiring conversation about the future of the Twin Cities and how we shape it together.

This presentation was recorded live on November 4, 2016, and features a post-presentation interview by Minnesota Public Radio’s Brandt Williams. Download transcript.

The 2016-2017 Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series was presented by Minnesota Public Radio and produced in partnership with the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture. Additional support was provided by the Cynthia Froid Group.

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