Author: Samuel Geer

Samuel Geer

Samuel Geer

Samuel Geer is a landscape designer and planner that blogs about urbanism, ecology, and technology. See more blog posts at and follow him on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Nature’s Lawnmowers

Photo Courtesy of Samuel Geer The release of 30 goats onto the bluffs of Indian Mounds Park was like a red carpet affair.  Their tenders called out the name of each goat as they stepped out of their trailer, only to be met with the excited shrieks of children and the snapping of pictures.  The […]

Soil and Water in the Life of a Street Tree

This is the second post in the series Understanding the Urban Forest from the Ground Up.  Part one can be read here. Unlike other forms of infrastructure, urban forests are also an ecosystem.  As a managed system, it grows and evolves over time, but has basic requirements that must be met in order to function […]

2013 Best Playground: Lake Hiawatha Park

Lake Hiawatha is an easily overlooked member of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, but that has always been one of its most appealing characteristics. Lacking the hustle and bustle of Lake Calhoun, the poshness of Lake of the Isles, or even the size of Lake Nokomis, Lake Hiawatha has a sleepy and natural feel that […]

The Attack of the Hipster Tomatoes: Getting Real With Local Foods

Re-designing our cities to support local food production and healthy living has been a very popular topic of late, happening against a backdrop of grassroots efforts to create networks of growing, distribution and consumption.  It is interesting to watch this process unfold, seeing how farmers, advocates, and urban design professionals are envisioning and (sometimes) working […]

The Nicollet Walk: A Stairway to the Skyway

The proposed interventions to the Minneapolis Skyway system were a subtle, yet powerful element of the James Corner Field Operations’ proposal for the Nicollet Mall Redesign.  The proposal explicitly included five distinct interventions that while in some cases are relatively superficial, demonstrate a new attitude about interfacing the skyway with the street.  The skyways have […]

What Does MIDS Mean for Minnesota Urbanism?

The Minimal Impact Design Standards Program (MIDS) is an enhanced set of regulatory tools, modeling methods, ordinance templates, and development credit systems to promote the implementation of effective techniques to limit water pollution from stormwater runoff.   The program is the result of an initiative by the Minnesota Stormwater Steering Committee to re-tune the public development […]

Keeping Green Streets Alive

Rain gardens and other streetside stormwater retention systems are designed to infiltrate street runoff, retain pollutants, and incorporate attractive plantings.  That is the vision, but the reality is that they are hard to get right, particularly in a cold climate like Minnesota.  What makes a curb-cut rain garden project sucessful? The move to install decentralized […]

Life in the Margins

Driving down I-94 recently, I noticed a bright orange patch of butterfly milkweed, wild bergamot, and pale purple coneflower growing along the highway embankment.  The plants were in bloom and stood out amongst the surrounding vegetation, even at 75 miles an hour.  The plantings were so vibrant that we were inspired to exit, park, climb […]