MR|DC short-lists Four World-Renowned Landscape and Urban Design Teams

Ken Smith Workshop, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Tom Leader Studio and Turenscape
Will Each Create An Overarching Vision for the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., — November 09, 2010 — Four award-winning landscape and urban design teams from as far afield as Boston, New York City, Berkeley and Beijing will meet in the middle when they compete in the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition (MR|DC). The teams – Ken Smith Workshop|New York City, Stoss Landscape Urbanism|Boston, Tom Leader Studio|Berkeley, and Turenscape|Beijing – were short-listed from a pool of 55 responses to the MR|DC Request for Qualifications, which included many of the world’s leading urban and landscape design firms.

MR|DC, the largest design competition in Minneapolis history, will produce a 21st-century parks design for 220 acres of parkland and surrounding neighborhoods and business districts along both sides of the 5.4-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from the Stone Arch Bridge in the historic downtown Mill District to the city’s northern limits. The competition is co-sponsored by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, with Creative Partners the University of Minnesota College of Design and the Walker Art Center.

“The historic, cultural and spiritual significance of the Mississippi River to Minneapolis and the world, coupled with the opportunity to bring innovation and creativity to the project, drew interest from award-winning teams from five continents and 14 countries. The four teams we short-listed comprise innovative and inspirational people who will work very hard to create great concepts for the Minneapolis riverfront,” says Bill Morrish, MR|DC jury member, and Dean of the School of Constructed Environments and Associate Dean, Parsons The New School of Design in New York City.

The teams’ collective work includes award-winning riverfront and industrial reclamation park projects, in places such as Shanghai, Memphis, Toronto, New York City, Dubai, Milwaukee and London.

MR|DC challenges the design teams to create an over-arching vision for the Upper Riverfront that builds on the Park Board’s award-winning 2000 master plan and addresses current demands as well as future needs. The winning design will be a comprehensive, integrated vision for the Upper Riverfront that establishes parks as the engine for economic development, transforms the river into a connector rather than a barrier between east and west banks, and refocuses Minneapolis toward what is one of the three great rivers of the world.

“Today, a growing and diversifying residential and business population, as well as economic and environmental pressures, require new-century parks infrastructure and programming,” says Cecily Hines, President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, a co-sponsor of MR|DC and creator of the “Next Generation of Parks” initiative, of which MR|DC is the first demonstration project. “The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition will demonstrate how great design, based on innovative thinking and technology, community input, and fiscal and environmental responsibility, can produce a vision for the Upper Riverfront that meets the demands of current, and future, generations.”

Each team will be awarded $30,000 for fees, travel and materials to complete its design, which are due January 21. The teams will visit Minneapolis twice: first for a three day exploratory visit beginning on November 29, and again in the new year to present their designs to the MR|DC jury and to the public on January 27.

The public will be invited to respond to a “Designer Ask” online and printed survey following the first team visit, and at a community meeting at 7:00 PM on December 7 at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board headquarters. The Walker Art Center will host a video reel of the submitted designs for two weeks, beginning January 27.

For more information about MR|DC, included studio and project summaries and work samples from the competing teams, please visit our website at

About the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

With 182 park properties totaling nearly 6,732 acres of land and water, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board provides places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community, and the environment. Each year, approximately 18 million visits are made to the nationally acclaimed Minneapolis park system. Its urban forests, natural areas and waters endure and captivate. Its Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, neighborhood parks, recreation centers and diversified programming have made the Minneapolis park system an important component of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live, play and work. To learn more about the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, visit

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Minneapolis Parks Foundation is an independent philanthropic nonprofit helping to shape the next generation of parks and green spaces in Minneapolis, with the goal of ensuring that our park system will be as powerful an amenity in the future as it has been in the past. Building on the visionary approach of our park system's founders over a century ago, the Foundation seeks to foster, through partnerships and collaborations with governmental entities, businesses, and other nonprofits, a systemic and sustainable approach to parks planning and design which addresses the needs and preferences of our changing world.


Janette Law
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