By Monique Dubos, originally published on the Institute on the Environment's Eye on Earth Blog, April 11, 2014
The city of Rosemount, just a short drive south of the Twin Cities, was chosen as next year's partner in the University of Minnesota's Resilient Communities Project, an Institute on the Environment-supported program. Development of open space and public amenities and enhancing pride of place are some of the projects the city hopes to tackle with the help of the University's sustainability expertise.
RCP organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities. The partnership will bring the expertise of hundreds of graduate students to sustainability-related projects identified by Rosemount city staff and community partners.
RCP was launched two years ago, teaming with Minnetonka on over a dozen projects that engaged 25 classes and more than 200 students across eight colleges. Student work helped the city to advance initiatives to reduce phosphorus and sediment pollution in local lakes and rivers, evaluate and improve local housing assistance programs, plan for transitoriented development around future light-rail stations, reduce traffic congestion, and increase engagement with local residents. This year's partnership with North St. Paul has matched more than 40 courses and 300 students with 17 projects, from implementing a "living streets" policy and creating environmental education programming for local parks to helping residents age in place and promoting redevelopment and pedestrian improvements in the downtown business district.
"We are looking forward to working with Rosemount as our next community partner," said RCP director and Humphrey School of Public Affairs associate professor Carissa Schively Slotterback. "The city's proposal showed a clear commitment to advancing sustainability and resilience and outlined a wide range of projects that will provide tremendous community-engaged learning opportunities for University of Minnesota students."
Rosemount has identified 40 potential projects, including affordable and multigenerational housing, neighborhood and resident engagement, recreational programming for youth, services for new immigrant communities, open space restoration, community gardening, energy and water conservation, public art, and climate adaptation. Project planning will begin this spring. Whichever projects are chosen, the city will benefit from the University's expertise as it works to become more sustainable and resilient.
"As we plan for Rosemount's future, it's a top goal of the city council to work toward the community's environmental, financial and cultural health," said Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste. "It will be a great advantage to consult with the University of Minnesota on ways to make Rosemount a more sustainable community for our growing and diverse population."
The Resilient Communities Project is an initiative of the Sustainability Faculty Network at the University of Minnesota, with funding and administrative support provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the Institute on the Environment.