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:

For 12,000 years, the Mississippi River has powered through Minnesota, where it’s scrawled a deep gorge like a signature through limestone and prairie. The source of this massive geological imprint was the River’s only true waterfall, now known as St. Anthony Falls, which receded over millennia and now graces the heart of Minneapolis. It is this unique geography, geology and history that inspired a schematic vision for a new destination park on the West Bank of St. Anthony Falls, developed by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation in partnership with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, and conveyed to Park Board Commissioners on Wednesday, October 22. Learn more at

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!