2012–2013 Partner: Minnetonka

Collage of photos in and around Minnetonka

For its 2012–2013 inaugural year, the Resilient Communities Project partnered with the City of Minnetonka. Located in Hennepin County just eight miles west of Minneapolis, Minnetonka is a fully developed suburban community of 49,374 residents (2010 Census), making it the 17th largest city in Minnesota. Like many developed communities, Minnetonka is experiencing change at the beginning of the 21st century—from an aging population, growing traffic congestion, and threats to water quality to new immigrant residents, redevelopment opportunities, and the prospect of a new light-rail line.

During the 2012–2013 academic year, RCP collaborated with Minnetonka to complete 14 projects that engaged 25 classes and more than 200 students across eight schools and colleges at the University of Minnesota, all focused on advancing community sustainability and resilience. You can view a summary of the partnership and projects, or learn more about individual projects below. Also available is an archive of news items about the partnership.

Projects

Stormwater Management and Illicit Discharge Regulation

Project Goal: Strengthen and integrate existing City stormwater management regulations to streamline the stormwater permitting process and reduce illicit discharges; recommend stormwater management strategies to reduce runoff and surface water pollution on the Ridgedale Mall redevelopment site.
Project Lead: Jo Colleran, Natural Resources Manager, City of Minnetonka

ARCH 8567: Building and Site Integration in Sustainable Design (Instructors: Richard Strong and Peter MacDonagh, College of Design)—Report

LAW 7012/7013: Land, Environment, and Energy Law Clinic (Instructor: Jean Coleman, Law School)—Report

Density and Housing Options Study

Project Description: Identify opportunities and strategies to encourage development of a more diverse range of housing options for residents, with housing of various types, sizes, price points, and densities. 
Project Lead: Loren Gordon, CIty Planner, City of Minnetonka 

PA 8203: Neighborhood Revitalization (Instructors: David Hollister and Lauren Martin, College of Education and Human Development)—Report, Presentation + Poster

PA 5212: Managing Urban Growth and Change (Instructor: Ed Goetz, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)—Report + Presentation

Post-Development Critique

Project Description: Revisit three previous developments—the Glen Lake Redevelopment Project, the Crest Ridge Corporate Center, and the Goodwill Industries Development—that were contentious at the time the projects were under review by the city to determine if community goals were met and neighborhood concerns were addressed; recommend improvements to the review process to ensure that all parties' concerns are heard and addressed.
Project Lead: Susan Thomas, Principal Planner, City of Minnetonka 

OLPD 5501: Principles and Methods of Evaluation (Instructor: Jean King, College of Education and Human Development)—Evaluation plan and data collection for OLPD 8595 (no report)

OLPD 8595: Evaluation Problems (Instructor: Jean King, College of Education and Human Development)—Report + Presentation

Water and Energy Conservation and Surface Water Education

Project Description: Develop education and outreach strategies that assist businesses in the community to address water and energy conservation, as well as surface water protection, through their operations and site management.  
Project Lead: Jo Colleran, Natural Resources Manager, City of Minnetonka 

ESPM 5606: Pollution Prevention: Principles, Technologies, and Practices (Instructor: Cindy McComas, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)—Energy Efficiency Checklist + Poster

COMM 5110 Environmental Communication (Instructor: Mark Pedelty, College of Liberal Arts)—Report

Conservation Development Standards

Project Description: Examine the City of Minnetonka's conservation development scorecard to assess its effectiveness in evaluating previous and proposed conservation developments in terms of protecting natural environmental features, preserving open space, protecting natural habitats for wildlife, and maintaining rural character; recommend strategies for using the scorecard to increase social acceptability of conservation development and for implementing the tool through the city's planned unit development ordinance.
Project Lead: Susan Thomas, Principal Planner, and Jo Colleran, Natural Resources Manager, City of Minnetonka 

ESPM 5242: Methods for Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (Instructors: Dennis Becker and Michael Kilgore, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)—Report

Water Resources Prioritization Plan

Project DescriptionDevelop a prioritization plan to guide city investments in preservation and restoration projects in four priority watersheds; model the feasibility and cost of mitigation actions for reducing nutrient levels in key water bodies within these watersheds. 
Project Lead: Liz Stout, Water Resources Engineer, City of Minnetonka 

ESPM 5295: GIS in Environmental Science and Management (Instructor: Paul Bolstad, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)—Report + Presentation

CE 5511: Urban Hydrology and Land Development (Instructor: John Gulliver, College of Science and Engineering)—Crane Lake Watershed Report + Presentation  |  Glen Lake Watershed Report + Presentation  |  Lake Windsor Watershed Report + Presentation  |  Shady Oak Lake Watershed Report + Presentation  |  Ridgedale Mall Report + Presentation  |  Effective Impervious Surface Report + Presentation

Neighborhood Identities and Resident Engagement

Project DescriptionAssess the feasibility of creating and supporting formal neighborhood associations in Minnetonka by surveying existing formal and informal neighborhood organizations in the community and researching local and national models for facilitating the creation of neighborhood associations. 
Project Lead: Jeff Thomson, Associate Planner, City of Minnetonka 

LS 5100: Design Thinking for Action (Instructor: Virajita Singh, College of Design)—Group 1 Report, Presentation + Poster  |  Group 2 Report

PA 8203: Neighborhood Revitalization (Instructors: David Hollister and Lauren Martin, College of Education and Human Development)—Report, Presentation, and Poster

Housing and Aging in Place

Project Description: Investigate opportunities and strategies for assisting residents to age in place in Minnetonka, either by remaining in their homes or relocating to more appropriate housing in the city.
Project Lead: Loren Gordon, Planner, City of Minnetonka

HSG 5463/PA 5261: Housing Policy (Instructor: Jeff Crump, College of Design)—Report Unavailable

Parking and Land Use

Project DescriptionReview Minnetonka's existing minimum parking regulations, and explore innovative parking management strategies and best practices to inform an update to the city’s parking ordinance. 
Project Lead: Susan Thomas, Principal Planner, City of Minnetonka 

GEOG 5564: Urban GIS (Instructor: Jeff Matson, College of Liberal Arts)—Report + Poster

PA 8202: Networks and Places (Instructor: Jason Cao, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)—Group 1 Report + Presentation  |  Group 2 Report + Presentation  |  Group 3 Report + Presentation  |  Group 4 Report + Presentation  |  Group 5 Report + Presentation

Transportation Demand Management Policy

Project DescriptionEvaluate the city's existing transportation demand management ordinance and review TDM ordinances and best practices in comparable suburban communities nationwide to inform an update and expansion of TDM requirements in the city.
Project Lead: Jeff Thomson, Associate Planner, City of Minnetonka 

PA 8081: Land Use and Transportation Capstone Workshop (Instructor: Mike Greco, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)—Report + Presentation

Mid-Priced Housing

Project Description: Assess the market for mid-priced housing in Minnetonka and neighboring communities to inform future efforts to increase the amount of mid-priced housing in the city.  
Project Lead: Elise Durbin, Community Development Supervisor, City of Minnetonka 

HSG 5464: Understanding Housing Assessment and Analysis (Instructor: Jessica Deegan, College of Design)—Demographics and Market Leakage Analysis Report + Presentation  |  Comparative Housing Market Analysis Report + Presentation  |  Mid-Priced Housing Analysis Report + Presentation

Green Roofs and Rooftop Gardens

Project Description: Assess the perceptions and attitudes among Minnetonka residents, developers, and community leaders toward green roof and rooftop garden projects; identify best practices for implementing green roofs in the context of a suburban community located in a northern climate.
Project Lead: Jo Colleran, Natural Resources Manager, City of Minnetonka

AGRO 5321: Ecology of Agricultural Systems (Instructor: Nick Jordan, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)—AGRO 5321 + PA 5242 Combined Final Report + Presentation + Poster

PA 5242: Environmental Planning, Policy, and Decision Making (Instructor: Carissa Schively Slotterback, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)—AGRO 5321 + PA 5242 Combined Final Report + Presentation + Poster

Transit-Oriented Zoning

Project Description: Research transit‐oriented zoning district models in comparable suburban contexts, and recommend guidelines for the city’s financial and policy role in future redevelopment projects at the major station areas in Minnetonka along the proposed Southwest Light-Rail Transit line. 
Project Lead: Loren Gordon, Planner, City of Minnetonka 

PA 8081: Land Use and Transportation Capstone Workshop (Instructor: Mike Greco, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)—Report + Presentation + Poster

Housing Program Evaluation

Project Description: Conduct an evaluation of the Minnetonka Home Enhancement Program, a housing rehabilitation program established in 2011 to assist low- to medium-income residents to make improvements to their homes, and recommend strategies to increase use of the program.
Project Lead: Elise Durbin, Community Development Supervisor, City of Minnetonka 

OLPD 8595: Evaluation Problems (Instructor: Jean King, College of Education and Human Development)—Report

RCP-Minnetonka Partnership in the News

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