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RiverFirst: A Model for Urban Transformation

April 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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.

As Parks Fellow, Chamberlain’s focus has been the Parks Foundation’s partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on the generational RiverFirst Initiative, which will transform 5.5 miles of urban Mississippi River corridor from obsolete industry to a mix of parkland, trails, and redevelopment. In addition, the Parks Foundation is steering implementation of Water Works and the Great Northern Greenway River Link, two RiverFirst Signature Projects, in partnership with the Park Board. Water Works, which overlooks St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to one of the most iconic location in the region.

Chamberlain will speak about:

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.
The importance of the Parks Fellow program to our region.
Who Should Attend

RiverFirst supporters and partners will get an in-depth update on the project and begin to explore ways in which RiverFirst is bringing more than parks and trails to the Upper Riverfront. Planners, landscape architects, and placemakers will learn more about the strategies that are shaping our community for this generation and the next.

About Bruce Chamberlain

Bruce Chamberlain is a nationally recognized urban designer with over 25 years of private, public and non-profit experience. He is the founding principal of LOAM, an urban strategies practice with a mission to propel implementation of complex city-building initiatives. Until 2011, Chamberlain was Vice President of Hoisington Koegler Group, playing a leadership role in building the firm from a two-person community planning shop to a recognized urban design studio. After 22 years in private practice, Chamberlain became the chief of planning and design for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board with a charge to propel the City’s storied park system into the 21st century. Chamberlain, a past president of the American Society of Landscape Architects and University of Minnesota HWS Cleveland Visiting Scholar, was elevated to the ASLA Council of Fellows in 2017.


Minneapolis Parks Foundation


100 Rapson Hall
89 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN United States
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