Lecture Series

Through the Parks Foundation’s always-free Lecture Series events, global design innovators and thought-leaders showcase the most exciting new parks destinations and delve into important issues of place affecting the Twin Cities community today.

Information about the 2017-2018 season will be announced soon. Until then, take a look back at our:

2016-2017 Next Generation of Parks™ Season

Presented by Minnesota Public Radio

PLAY: May 6, 2017
Janet Lansbury, Parenting Expert & Author of Elevating Child Care
Janet Lansbury talked about “Celebrating Play” and inspired parents, grandparents, and child-carers to embrace the joys and benefits of encouraging self-directed exploration of the great outdoors among children. Lansbury is a parenting expert whose respectful parenting advice is quoted and shared by millions of readers worldwide. Inspired by the pioneering parenting philosophy of her friend and mentor, Magda Gerber, Janet encourages parents and childcare professionals to initiate and direct independent play for extended periods. Video coming soon.

WATER: March 9, 2017
Mark Johnson, Co-founder & Principal, Civitas, Inc.
In this talk, we will explore 21st century approaches to parks and public space on our urban rivers and waterfronts. Mark Johnson is co-founder and principal of Civitas, a Denver-based landscape design and urban planning firm that has made waves throughout the United States with their work on urban waterfronts. He is a recognized thought-leader in the design of urban parks and public spaces and the reuse of brownfield and industrial sites. He led the urban design for the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan and, in the Twin Cities, recently completed the Lake Effect Signature Project plan in Wayzata, Minn. Video coming soon.

RE-CREATION: November 4, 2016
Maurice Cox, Detroit City Planner
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 shared with us his compelling story of creative community engagement in Detroit and opened the door to an inspiring conversation about the future of the Twin Cities and how we shape it together. Watch the video.

BUILDING BRIDGES: September 9, 2016
Leila Araghian, Architect & Designer, Tabiat “Nature” Bridge
Araghian’s Tabiat “nature” pedestrian bridge in Tehran has sparked a new wave of community connection by becoming the place in Tehran to visit, stay, and socialize with friends – old and new. Parks and other public spaces are the site of such interactions all over the world, and the most dynamic of these are often created by designers who champion the importance of creating common ground through inspiring places. By bringing Araghian to Minneapolis, we hope to spark renewed energy around the role of parks in building bridges – literal and figurative – in Minneapolis. Watch the video.

About the Lecture Series

In 2010, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation helped jumpstart a conversation about parks design and city-building with our first Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series, hosting landscape designers and park advocates whose work includes The High Line in New York and London’s Green Grid. We have produced a lecture series nearly every year since, always with the goal of demystifying the impact of great design – inspiring thousands to be champions for dynamic, vibrant public space in Minneapolis and throughout the region.

Past Presentations, 2010-2015

  • Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of the Board, 8 80 Cities
  • Roger Cummings, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Juxtaposition Arts; Cameron Downey, JXTA Student; Tom Fisher, Dayton Hudson Land Grant Chair and Director, University of Minnesota Metropolitan Design Center; and Kristine Miller, Professor, University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture
  • Kate Orff, Founder & Principal, SCAPE Landscape Design, and 2014 Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge winner
  • Adriaan Geuze, WEST 8
  • Eelco Hooftman, GROSS.MAX
  • Jamie Dean, principal designer and program manager of London’s Green Grid
  • Robert Hammond, President of Friends of the High Line, and Lisa Tziona Switkin, of James Corner Field Operations and primary designer of New York City’s High Line
  • Laurie Olin, a distinguished teacher, author and founding principal of OLIN, one of America’s leading landscape architecture firms
  • Tom Leader of Tom Leader Studio and Sheila Kennedy of KVA Architects, designers of RiverFirst, the winning proposal for the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition.

Past Partners

The Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series has been proudly co-presented with significant contribution from American Society of Landscape Architects-Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture, and the Walker Art Center.