This past fall, RCP staff attended several state and national conferences to share our stories about the projects and people that help to make RCP partnerships successful.
In September, RCP director Mike Greco attended the 2019 MetroLab Network Summit, held at the University of Colorado–Boulder campus, and participated in a panel that explored approaches for building successful community-university partnerships. Along with speakers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of Colorado–Denver, and the University of Oregon, Greco shared insights and lessons learned from RCP’s experience connecting city and county government agencies in Minnesota with students and faculty at the U of MN to create mutually beneficial partnerships that advance community sustainability, livability, and resilience. All four programs represented on the panel are affiliated with the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network, which developed the model on which the RCP program is based. The MetroLab Network supports city-university partnerships that promote civic innovation and help the public sector adapt to rapid technological change.
This year’s annual conference of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association, held at the Breezy Point Resort in Breezy Point, Minnesota in September, provided an opportunity to highlight several key projects from last year’s partnerships with Scott and Ramsey Counties. Professor Jen Krava and student Chad Reed from the University of Minnesota College of Design teamed with Frank Alarcon and Kevin Roggenbuck from Ramsey County to present on “Envisioning the Future of West 7th Street through Innovative Design Solutions,” which explored work from several RCP projects focused on the proposed Riverview Corridor Modern Streetcar Line in Saint Paul. Student work on three projects from our Scott County partnership were the focus of another session on “Rural and Suburban Approaches to Providing Affordable Housing in Scott County.” Scott County Planning Manager Brad Davis, Humphrey School of Public Affairs student Matt Lupini, and Scott County Community Development Agency staff members Julie Siegert, Molly Link, and Linda Janovsky discussed RCP projects that explored how community land trusts, employer-assisted housing, and rental assistance programs can expand availability of affordable and workforce housing in rural and suburban communities. You can find information about and deliverables from these and other projects from our Scott County and Ramsey County partnerships on RCP's website.
Most recently, Humphrey School professor Fernando Burga presented about his past collaborations with RCP through his PA 5211: Land Use Planning course, as part of a panel on connected and autonomous vehicles at the annual Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) Transportation Research Conference, held at the University of Minnesota on November 7. Burga’s presentation, “Planning for Disruption: Visualizing the future of Autonomous Vehicles Through Policy Narratives,” highlighted projects from last year’s partnership with Scott County that explored the implications of autonomous vehicles for everything from improving mobility for residents with disabilities to more safely and efficiently shipping freight. Burga’s presentation emphasized his unique approach to teaching land use planning, and the value of having students produce visual narratives in the form of posters as their “deliverable”—rather than dry, technical planning reports—as a way to create a social space for community conversations around land use and planning issues.