2015-18 RiverFirst Concentration

Minneapolis Parks Fellow

At a time when parks are central to multiple large-scale private and public development projects in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation identified RiverFirst and the Water Works site as the primary focus for our inaugural Minneapolis Parks Fellow program.

The Parks Foundation identified RiverFirst and the Water Works and Great Northern Greenway River Links projects for their transformative potential, rapidly advancing development and broad local and regional support. The Parks Foundation also has a history of private-sector leadership in RiverFirst.

Bruce Chamberlain was the first Minneapolis Parks Fellow. A long-time resident of Minneapolis, Chamberlain is a national award-winning urban designer who has spent his 22-year career helping communities envision a vibrant future. Chamberlain is the immediate past-Assistant Superintendent of Planning for the Minneapolis Park Board. (Read Chamberlain’s bio)

Core Work

During his three-year term as the Minneapolis Parks Fellow, Chamberlain, together with Parks Foundation Staff and Board:

  • Worked closely with the Minneapolis Park Board to shepherd complex RiverFirst projects including:

Water Works
Great Northern Greenway River Link
Upper Mississippi Riverfront trails and neighborhood connections

  • Provided guidance and direction to the Parks Foundation’s University of Minnesota College of Design Research Assistants and explore the possibility of creating an on-going student internship as part of the Parks Fellow program.
  • Helped envision tangible outcomes related to creating and supporting the Next Generation of Parks.
  • Facilitated strategy workshops with other park professionals around the nexus of park design and city building and around the RiverFirst vision.
  • Helped establish the Minneapolis Parks Fellow as substantial voice in promoting a forward thinking vision for Minneapolis Parks and providing implementation skills needed to bring complex projects into reality.