A once derelict riverside area transformed into a community oriented neighborhood, so we investigated and celebrated this development. 

Upon being awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant (UROP) through the University of Minnesota, I worked with professor Leslie Van Duzer and design students Sara Marquardt and Melanie Povlitzki on a study of the historical Minneapolis Mill District. Fascinated by the successful transformation of this once derelict riverside neighborhood, we aim understand what went so right, both to celebrate the successful urban development and use it as a model for future planning. 

To understand the community, we studied the history, photographed, drew, interviewed locals, and experienced the neighborhood first hand. The team discovered countless thoughtful but unspoken collaborations between residents, local businesses and cultural/ educational institutions that gave birth to this remarkable community. What was seemingly typical neighborhood pride turned out to be a deeply woven web of unexpected relationships. 

We then developed a set of postcards to give back to the community. Each card abstractly highlights a unique connection formed by the people, from a theme of dog ownership and responsibility to shared spaces and products. 500 sets of 12 postcards were produced and distributed to local businesses and residents. 


AIR RIGHTS | Guthrie Theater architect Jean Nouvel’s design brilliantly locates the Scene Shop atop a city-owned parking structure allowing sets to be rolled directly onto the two main stages via the Production Link spanning Second Street.


AIR RIGHTS | Guthrie Theater architect Jean Nouvel’s design brilliantly locates the Scene Shop atop a city-owned parking structure allowing sets to be rolled directly onto the two main stages via the Production Link spanning Second Street.

UNITE AND CONQUER | Gold Medal Park was developed and is maintained through a unique partnership between the McGuire Family Foundation, the Guthrie Theater and the City of Minneapolis.


UNITE AND CONQUER | Gold Medal Park was developed and is maintained through a unique partnership between the McGuire Family Foundation, the Guthrie Theater and the City of Minneapolis.

BOUNTIFUL | Award winning chef Brenda Langton, a longtime supporter of sustainable organic farming, founded the Mill City Farmers Market in 2006. On Saturdays, Brenda and her husband Tim can be seen making crepes at the market and shopping for their neighboring restaurant, Spoonriver.


BOUNTIFUL | Award winning chef Brenda Langton, a longtime supporter of sustainable organic farming, founded the Mill City Farmers Market in 2006. On Saturdays, Brenda and her husband Tim can be seen making crepes at the market and shopping for their neighboring restaurant, Spoonriver.

GIMME SHELTER | As a founding partner of the Mill City Farmers Market, the Mill City Museum shelters local farmers in its former train shed every Saturday throughout the summer and early autumn months.


GIMME SHELTER | As a founding partner of the Mill City Farmers Market, the Mill City Museum shelters local farmers in its former train shed every Saturday throughout the summer and early autumn months.

DOG PARK – CAR PARK | With space enough to accommodate both, the park(ing) lot at Second Street and Park Avenue accommodates dogs and cars alike. 


DOG PARK – CAR PARK | With space enough to accommodate both, the park(ing) lot at Second Street and Park Avenue accommodates dogs and cars alike. 

WHAT’S NEW | The old historic brick building on 11th Avenue S (right) inspired the design of the 2007 Bridgewater Condos (left). A new sign (center) between the buildings nods to the past and the future.


WHAT’S NEW | The old historic brick building on 11th Avenue S (right) inspired the design of the 2007 Bridgewater Condos (left). A new sign (center) between the buildings nods to the past and the future.

WOOF | According to one local developer, over 60% of the Mill City residents own dogs. Local inhabitants, city officials and developers collaborate throughout the district to create spaces for our four-legged friends.


WOOF | According to one local developer, over 60% of the Mill City residents own dogs. Local inhabitants, city officials and developers collaborate throughout the district to create spaces for our four-legged friends.

IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE | Jon Halberg, MD and the University of Minnesota Physicians opened the Mill City Clinic in the Zenith building in the heart of the Mill District. Among their growing clientele are local residents and visiting Guthrie actors.


IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE | Jon Halberg, MD and the University of Minnesota Physicians opened the Mill City Clinic in the Zenith building in the heart of the Mill District. Among their growing clientele are local residents and visiting Guthrie actors.