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Environment

Hundreds of University of Minnesota students to work with North St. Paul on city sustainability projects

Resilient Community Project brings students and faculty from across the U to Minnesota communities

September 6, 2013

North Saint Paul elected officials, city staff and residents joined University of Minnesota academic leaders today to launch a new partnership through the Resilient Communities Project, an initiative that will bring the expertise of hundreds of graduate students and faculty to sustainability-related projects identified by North Saint Paul.

Students and faculty from 20 disciplines, including law, architecture, urban planning, natural resource management, civil engineering, design, forestry, environmental education, social work, and public policy across the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses, will begin work this month on 21 projects focused on sustainability and resilience that North St. Paul has proposed. Project areas include street redesign to support pedestrian and other uses, green energy and conservation, housing and aging in place, environmental education, crime watch and neighborhood identities, civic engagement and communication, community branding, emerald ash borer management, trail connections, redevelopment readiness, staff development, downtown revitalization and economic development, bulk solid waste disposal, public art, and community gardening.

"The City of North St. Paul is pleased and excited about entering into this collaborative program with the many departments and programs at the University of Minnesota," said Mayor Mike Kuehn. "As a smaller community our city does not have the staff or other resources needed to work on the many important projects the Resilient Communities Program will be performing for the city. These projects, when completed, should go a long ways in advancing the future livability of our community."

"The partnership with North St. Paul offers tremendous potential for all involved. We're excited to work on key priorities for the City and at the same time provide invaluable opportunities for University of Minnesota students to gain on-the-ground experience in sustainability."

Each academic year, RCP chooses a city partner through a competitive proposal process, works with the city to identify potential projects based on community-identified needs, then matches the projects with University courses that provide students and faculty who have the expertise needed to complete them in partnership with city staff. The collaboration helps the community work toward a more sustainable and livable future, offers students real-world opportunities to apply their knowledge and training, and provides a foundation for ongoing collaboration. During the 2012–13 academic year, RCP collaborated with the City of Minnetonka to complete 14 projects that engaged 25 classes and more than 200 students across eight schools and colleges at the University of Minnesota.

Hundreds of students and faculty contribute across a wide range of academic disciplines―from architecture, planning and engineering to business, environmental sciences and the humanities. Many projects combine multiple disciplines to address problems from diverse perspectives. Expertise is available in all aspects of sustainability, including environmental health, economic opportunity, social equity and community livability, and all stages of sustainability efforts, including analysis, planning, design, implementation and evaluation.

RCP 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 (CURA) and the Institute on the Environment. To learn more, visit rcp.umn.edu.

About the Institute on the Environment: The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment discovers solutions to Earth’s most pressing environmental problems by conducting transformative research, developing the next generation of global leaders and building world-changing partnerships. Learn more online at  www.environment.umn.edu.

About the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs: The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) connects the resources of the University of Minnesota with the interests and needs of urban communities and the region. CURA pursues its urban and regional mission by facilitating and supporting connections between state and local governments, neighborhoods, and nonprofit organizations, and relevant resources at the University, including faculty and students from appropriate campuses, colleges, centers or departments. Learn more online at www.cura.umn.edu

About the city of North Saint Paul: North St. Paul is a town of 3.1 square miles with a six-block-long main street. A small industrial village turned first-ring suburb, North St. Paul embraces its small-town feel but also recognizes it is part of a larger region. With 125 years of history, North St. Paul is a tight-knit community with bonds to the town atmosphere, its neighbors and their shared past. It is also a town that looks to the future, embracing technology and seeking new ways to capture the next wave of innovation and ingenuity to propel the community forward. Learn more at www.northstpaul.net.

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