Selecting Projects for an RCP Partnership

The following are suggestions for ways to creatively identify project ideas to nominate for inclusion in a partnership with RCP.

Projects need not be limited to public policy or planning issues. RCP has worked on projects with staff from a broad range of city and county departments, including: 

  • Public Safety 

  • Corrections

  • Transportation

  • Public Works

  • Finance

  • Emergency Management

  • Elections Administration

  • Environmental Management

  • Parks and Recreation

  • Workforce Development

  • Administration

  • Community and Economic Development

  • Transit Authority

  • Communications

  • Human Resources

  • Libraries

  • Public Health

  • Community Relations

  • Planning and Zoning

  • Human and Social Services

Assistance is available at all project stagesfrom analysis, planning, and design to implementation and evaluation. Types of research and technical assistance available from RCP include, but are not limited to:

  • Case study and best practices analysis

  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis

  • Program evaluation

  • Conceptual design development

  • Community audits or inventories

  • GIS mapping 

  • Cost-benefit analysis

  • Branding and marketing campaigns

  • Asset mapping

  • Culturally responsive programming and services

  • Outreach and engagement

  • Strategic planning

  • Model ordinance development

  • Process and systems improvement

RCP has successfully matched projects with all of the following programs and departments at the University, and we are always broadening our network and building connections with new departments to meet the creative questions and individual needs of our partner communities.  

  • Adult Education

  • Agronomy

  • Anthropology

  • Architecture

  • Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering

  • Business Administration

  • Civil, Environmental, & Geo-Engineering 

  • Communication Studies 

  • Community Health Promotion

  • Design

  • Economic Development

  • Education Policy

  • Elections Administration

  • Environmental Education

  • Environmental Health

  • Environmental Science, Policy, & Management

  • Evaluation Studies

  • Family Social Science

  • Film Studies

  • Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology

  • Food Science and Nutrition

  • Food Systems

  • Forest & Natural Resource Management

  • Geographic Information Systems

  • Geography, Environment, and Society 

  • Gerontology 

  • Graphic Design

  • Health, Physical Education & Recreation (UMD)

  • Historic Preservation

  • Horticulture

  • Housing Studies

  • Human Resources & Industrial Relations

  • Industrial Engineering

  • Interior Design

  • Journalism & Mass Communication

  • Land Use Planning

  • Landscape Architecture

  • Law

  • Liberal Studies

  • Library and Information Science (St. Kate’s)

  • Maternal & Child Health

  • Political Science

  • Psychology 

  • Public Affairs 

  • Public Policy

  • Public Health Administration & Policy

  • Recreation and Outdoor Education

  • Recreation & Resource Management

  • Scandinavian Studies

  • Science, Technology, & Environmental Policy

  • Social Work

  • Spanish & Portuguese Studies

  • Sports Management

  • Strategic Communication and Marketing

  • Sustainability Studies

  • Transportation Studies

  • Urban Studies

  • Youth Studies

Past projects have addressed a broad range of needs, issues, and goals, including: 

Housing

  • Evaluating a housing rehabilitation loan program to determine why the program is underutilized

  • Assessing the feasibility of live-work housing as an economic development strategy to revitalize downtown main street

  • Investigating interest among local municipalities in pursuing a county-wide land trust model to generate newand preserve existingaffordable housing

 

Transportation

  • Forecasting how connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) might reshape urban design, land use, and transportation in rural and suburban communities

  • Conducting travelshed analyses to identify opportunities for extending transit service

  • Proposing roadway and other improvements to provide safe routes to schools

  • Identifying engagement strategies to create public support for implementing a “living streets” approach for road reconstruction projects 

  • Documenting case studies and best practices from suburban transit-oriented developments to inform planning for a future light-rail line

 

Environmental Stewardship

  • Conducting a cost-benefit analysis of potential storm water best management practices to improve water quality in impaired lakes and rivers

  • Identifying ecological restoration and interpretive options for a proposed greenway

  • Creating emerald ash borer and European buckthorn management plans

  • Identifying opportunities for water conservation, capture, and reuse to reduce consumption of potable water

 

Staffing and Operations

  • Assessing the need for training and development opportunities & stress and wellness programs for municipal staff

  • Evaluating recruitment and retention strategies for police and fire departments

  • Integrating GIS technology into field operations for public works staff

  • Conducting a program evaluation for a community gardening program 

 

Community Engagement

  • Conducting outreach and engagement with manufactured home park residents to assess their public health and other service needs

  • Develop a broadly inclusive public engagement process for a comprehensive plan update

  • Designing and piloting a community charrette process to inform a U.S. highway reconstruction and redesign project

  • Creating a template for producing a popular annual finance report (PAFR) to improve transparency and broaden understanding of government finances

 

Community and Economic Development

  • Assessing the feasibility of a community kitchen or food hub as an economic development strategy

  • Proposing historic preservation efforts and programming for a mid-1800s farmstead to maximize its potential as a tourist attraction

  • Identifying opportunities for shared parking, parking districts, and other strategies for reducing excess surface parking in a downtown commercial district

  • Investigating the feasibility of a business improvement district to revitalize a downtown main street

 

Education

  • Identifying and assessing models and strategies for delivering adult education programming

  • Investigating successful school-based programs and partnerships to reduce teen traffic accident risks

  • Developing curricula for environmental education programs at a local park and nature preserve 

  • Creating design and programming options for a jointly developed Performing Fine Arts and Education Center with a local community college

 

Parks and Recreation

  • Identifying opportunities to introduce nature-based play features into new and existing parks and open spaces

  • Assessing the changing park and recreation needs or residents in a rapidly diversifying suburban community

  • Designing a wayfinding signage plan to encourage trail users to visit key destinations in a nearby downtown commercial area

  • Creating a sustainable turf grass management program for parks and athletic fields to reduce irrigation and chemical inputs

 

Human and Social Services

  • Assessing the public health and social service needs of residents in a low-income mobile home park 

  • Analyzing the incidence of and opportunities to reduce childhood maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

  • Conducting a program inventory, evaluation, and gap analysis of mental health services and substance education and prevention programs that serve youth.

  • Investigating programs, policies, and other strategies to make it easier for senior residents to age in place in their homes and community

 

Energy and Climate

  • Assessing the feasibility of using renewable energy sources to power municipal buildings

  • Conducting a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions audit

  • Identifying potential local impacts of climate change, as well as education and outreach strategies to reduce the community’s vulnerability to these impacts

 

For a complete list of projects from each of our past partnerships, consult the project pages for our previous partners:

Cities: Minnetonka, North St. Paul, Rosemount, Brooklyn Park, Ramsey

Counties: Scott, Ramsey

Regional Collaborative: Carver County and Partners

Many of our previous partner cities and counties turned to the broader community to help identify potential projects. For example, the City of Brooklyn Park solicited project ideas not just from staff, but also from the public by engaging broadly with residents and community organizations through its existing Citizen Long-Range Improvement Committee (CLIC). Comprised of residents and exclusive of City staff, CLIC continued to act as an informal steering committee throughout the RCP–Brooklyn Park partnership. 

Carver County sought participation from multiple local government and county agencies for its partnership with RCP. County staff reached out to multiple cities, local school districts, the historical society, the local transit authority, and others to develop a collaborative proposal that ultimately included 3o project ideas contributed by five county departments and seven external partner agencies (Chaska, Victoria, Watertown, Carver Community Development Agency, SouthWest Transit, Carver County Historical Society, and Eastern Carver School District 112).

RCP staff are always available to discuss your project ideas, or to offer help at any stage of the application process. We also offer RCP Proposal Development Workshops. For assistance, contact RCP Director Mike Greco at mgreco@umn.edu or 612-625-7501.

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