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Mississippi Riverfront Design Contest winner to 'go with the flow'

When the TLS/KVA team of landscape architects and designers strolled a 5.5-mile stretch of the Mississippi River starting at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and heading north, they climbed over fences to get a better view of the landscape. It almost got them arrested for trespassing. 

TLS/KVA is a partnership between the Berkeley-based Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture from Boston.

Sheila Kennedy, one of the team members leading the charge, says too much of the river is off the beaten track. "We felt the river edge is where people should be," adding, "It's so difficult to get there now."   

TLS/KVA, which has a partnership with nine local firms, was announced as the winner of the Mississippi Riverfront Design Competition on Feb. 10. The contest, jointly held by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Walker Art Center and University of Minnesota College of Design, solicited proposals from four finalist teams from across the globe.

TLS/KVA stood out for its proposal, titled RiverFIRST, which focuses on water, health, mobility and green economy.

The goals were to re-establish the parks as an economic engine for development and make the river—one of the three great rivers of the world—a connector, not a divider, and reorient the city around that focus, according to contest project manager Mary DeLaittre.    

Whether it's about rediscovering the Northside Wetlands or establishing floating "habitat islands" that happen to be formed from recycled water bottles, "RiverFIRST design initiatives function at multiple scales to link larger natural, social, civic, and economic ecologies and raise citizen awareness about the impacts of consumer choices on the Upper Mississippi River," a prepared statement reads.  

TLS/KVA will be awarded a riverfront parks commission, the details of which will be determined over the course of a four-month transitional phase.

Source: Sheila Kennedy, KVA, Mary DeLaittre, Mississippi Riverfront Design Competition  
Writer: Anna Pratt

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