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58 Coordination/Collaboration Articles | Page: | Show All

U of M team wins DOE challenge

“Team OptiMN,” a group of 14 undergraduate and grad students at the University of Minnesota with diverse majors (including building science, sustainable design, construction management and business), was the Grand Award Winner of The Department of Energy’s second annual "Race to Zero" Student Design Competition. The team won for its design of the OptiMN Impact Home in North Minneapolis.

Teams competing in the “Race to Zero” challenge were asked to design cost-effective zero-energy-ready homes for mainstream builders, according to a press release announcing the award, adding that, "The winning design uses high-performance features that sharply reduce energy use, and allow for most of the remaining energy use to be offset with renewable energy." The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This year, the competition involved 33 teams from 27 universities in the U.S., Canada and China. "Along with energy-efficiency, the designed homes must be comfortable and attractive as well as affordable," the release stated.

Green Homes North, one of team OptiMN's partners, plans on building 100 energy-efficient homes in North Minneapolis in the next five years. Team OptiMN made sure the home followed their guidelines. The team also partnered with Urban Homeworks to design a high performance, affordable, flexible home. Residential Science Resources was the team's energy rater partner.

Team OptiMN’s design goals centered around meeting: the DOE’s challenge to build a zero energy ready home; Urban Homework’s mission to produce equitable, dignified communities; and Green Homes North Initiative to revitalize North Minneapolis neighborhoods with affordable, sustainable and quality homes.


Works Progress' "Water Bar" at Crystal Bridges Museum

The Minneapolis-based Works Progress, comprised of Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson, is part of the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AK. Just inside the museum’s lobby is Kloecker and Matteson’s project Water Bar.
A partnership between Works Progress and the museum, as well as scientific researchers, environmental advocates, public employees, educators and local residents, Water Bar is an interactive installation that invites visitors to sample and compare water from three local sources: Beaver Lake (Bentonville), the Illinois River (Siloam Springs), and an artesian well in Sulphur Springs.
Representatives from the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and local educational institutions are staffing the bar. In addition to serving water, they engage visitors in conversations about drinking water, where it comes from and how to protect it.
The exhibition, with Water Bar, is on view until January 19, 2015. Works Progress is also participating in a State of the Art Symposium on November 14-15 to talk about how they engage artists, designers, organizers and creative professionals to realize public art rooted in place and purpose.
“Works Progress uses place, design and the shared experience of drinking water to focus our attention on local water sources,” says Chad Alligood, curator, Crystal Bridges. “The collaboration with Works Progress and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership represents a convergence of art and advocacy that engages the community in conversations about an issue that affects all of us.”
Matteson adds that, “We hope to install a local version of the Water Bar project in 2015 that will highlight Minnesota's water resources, and are currently seeking collaborators and support.”

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."

Peavey Plaza preservation efforts awarded

The International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement—better known as Docomomo—has initiated a new program, the Modernism in America Awards. Docomomo US is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the modernist movement. The juried awards program honors individuals and organizations dedicated to preserving and/or renovating midcentury architecture and design.

Among the award’s inaugural recipients are the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the Minnesota Chapter of Docomomo US for the groups’ efforts to save Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis. The groups were given the Advocacy Award of Excellence.

Designed in 1975 by M. Paul Friedberg + Partners, the plaza is located adjacent to the newly renovated Orchestra Hall. The groups collaborated to “successfully communicate Peavey Plaza’s on-going importance and prevent its demolition,” states the Docomomo website. “The Board of Directors of Docomomo US is impressed by the well-coordinated collective nature of these efforts; their outreach to a wide audience including local constituents and national interests; and their use of a combination of advocacy tools including the solicitation of pro bono design concepts by the plaza’s original landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg.”

Keri Pickett receives kudos for ice-skating documentary

Keri Pickett, a Minneapolis photographer and author, has become a filmmaker as well. She created an ice-skating documentary titled The Fabulous Ice Age, which is now available on Netflix. The film was also featured on the front page of the arts section of The New York Times.

The film documents the history of touring ice shows, and includes interviews with former skater and producers. Pickett shot and edited the film with a four-member team for about $200,000, and worked with the Minneapolis-based post-production company Pixel Farm Digital.

Rhythmic Circus and Root City earn kudos from New York critics

The Minneapolis groups Rhythmic Circus (percussive dance) and Root City (funk and blues musicians) joined forces several years ago to create "Feet Don't Fail Me Now!", an evening of high-energy tap dancing and music. The groups have since toured the country with their show to popular acclaim.

Recently, the performers realized a long-held goal of gigging in New York City, off-Broadway at the Victory Theater.  The New York Times called the hour-long show (which has been performed several times in the Twin Cities) a "entertaining display of music and tap-dancing skills." The publication also called out beatboxer Aaron Heaton as "practically another band on his own."

Writing in her blog Infinite Body, Eva Yaa Asantewaa called the show "wildly entertaining in the very best blue-eyes-soul kind of way," She asks "How did Ricci Milan (dancer/artist director) and Nick Bowman (dancer/executive director) manage to pack so much content and value into a single hour? Don't know, but the set list gives these performers a chance to show off their amazing vitality."

Source: The New York Times, Infinite Body

Slingshot Guide names Sabes Jewish Community Center top innovator

The Slingshot Guide named Sabes Jewish Community Center in Minneapolis one of 18 “leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities,” a prepared statement reads. 

Slingshot sifted through hundreds of finalists, evaluating organizations based on innovation, impact, leadership, and efficacy. 

The Slingshot Guide is a resource to “volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects that, through their innovative nature, will ensure the Jewish community remains relevant and thriving,” a prepared statement reads. 

The community center’s inclusion department rose to the top for its “comprehensive range of programming options that meet the needs of persons with disabilities at all stages of their lives, as well as the way that Sabes JCC embraces the inclusive model as a central component of its organizational mission,” the statement adds. 

Source: SlingshotFund.org 


Investors.com reports on local tech startup boom

Investors.com recently reported on what some people describe as a “tech startup boom” in Minneapolis. 

In three years, Coco Coworking, which now has three Twin Cities coworking spaces where entrepreneurs can share resources and ideas, has grown to include 700 members, most of which are tech startups, the story states.  

CoCo has hosted over 4,000 people through its regular meet-ups just this year, according to the story. 

The nonprofit Minnestar, which is also dedicated to cultivating the local tech scene, has seen an increase of over 40 percent in attendance at its MinneDemo events since 2010. 

The story goes on to cite other examples of tech activity in the state. Jeff Pesek, co-founder of the Minneapolis-based website, tech.mn, which tracks the local tech scene, is quoted, saying, “There is a lot of activity here, a lot of signs that the market is evolving and blossoming.” 

Source: Investors.com 

Target gets buzz for its unique Simplicity Challenge contest

As the popularity of the Minnesota Cup demonstrates, innovation challenges are becoming a definite trend, and now Target is getting into the mix.
As reported by MedCity News and other news outlets, the company recently announced two contests aimed at boosting innovation in healthcare.
The Target Simplicity Challenge will reward the creators of the winning ideas $25,000 apiece, and offer them the chance to partner with Target on developing the concepts. One contest will focus on solutions that help people make positive lifestyle and preventative care choices, while the other will focus on helping people live well with chronic conditions.
MedCity News notes that Target wants small, simple ideas that can substantively solve problems outlined in the contest. The company announced the challenges at the Mayo Clinic Transform Symposium

CNN series features local schools and educators

Recently, a CNN news crew spent quite a bit of time visiting local schools and talking with area educators and advocates about the racial achievement gap, according to Minnpost

It was for a CNN special, “Great Expectations,” which is part of the ongoing documentary series, “Black in America.” The program airs on Aug. 30. 

The project, led by Soledad O'Brien, looks specifically at the education of black boys, Minnpost reports.

O’Brien raises tough questions about whether charter schools re-segregate children.   

Chris Stewart, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum and a former MPS board member, who was interviewed for the show, sees the show as a way to connect people. “It’s like [O'Brien is] building this network of African-Americans nationwide who are seeing each other do good work,” he says in the piece. 

Minnesota a top state for income mobility, study says

The potential for a child born in the bottom one-fifth of households by income to rise into the upper one-fifth was the subject of a major Harvard University study, called The Equality of Opportunity Project.
Researchers looked at whether tax expenditures from policies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit were effective in reaching the goal of enabling children to rise out of poverty.
The results around the nation were very mixed, the researchers noted: "We find substantial variation in mobility across areas." Looking at other additional factors such as K-12 school quality, economic and racial segregation, income inequality, and intergenerational mobility, the researchers were able to create a map of the U.S. highlighting economic mobility by state and major metropolitan areas.
In some areas, such as much of the South, upward mobility is extremely unlikely, but Minnesota fared well, according to the map. Of the 100 largest U.S. cities, Minneapolis came in at no. 18 for upward mobility. Salt Lake City was in the top spot, while Memphis was last on the list.

Minneapolis on list of best cities to start a business

Personal finance website NerdWallet celebrated May's designation as Small Business Month with a report on "Best Cities to Start a Business," and Minneapolis landed on its list of top 10 cities in the nation.
Coming in at number eight, Minneapolis was lauded for strength in healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services, and was called "a growing hotspot for startups and small businesses."
The city has a very low unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, the article noted, and a highly educated population. Minneapolis business resources got a nod, including technology group MHTA, nonprofit community development association MCCD, and technical assistance groups funded by the city.
The site calculated the results based on ease of obtaining funding, business-friendly resources, local economic indicators, hiring, and affordable living. The top three cities, according to NerdWallet, are Atlanta, Raleigh, and Austin.

Study gives Minnesota a high grade for small-business friendliness

Online service Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the entrepreneurship organization Kauffman Foundation, conducted its second annual study about business friendliness, compiling survey results from over 7,000 small business owners throughout the United States.
Minnesota received a grade of "A-" in the study, showing marked improvement over its "B" grade in 2012. Survey respondents gave high grades to the ease of starting a business in the state and overall friendliness. Zoning and training programs both received lower scores of "B-."
In terms of areas for improvement, the state's small business owners gave the state a "D+" for ease of hiring and a "C+" for regulatory issues like health and safety and the tax code.
The site also includes some comments from survey respondents, highlighting both advantages and challenges for small businesses in the state. For example, the owner of a moving company in St. Paul complained that "workman's comp in Minnesota is extremely brutal," while an entrepreneur in Cottage Grove noted: "This is a great place to start a business." 

Study shows Minnesotans becoming more connected to mobile tech

St. Paul-based public-private partnership Connect Minnesota recently released data from a series of residential technology assessments in the state, and found that approximately 2.1 million adults use the Internet on their cell phones or subscribe to a mobile wireless service for a laptop or tablet computer. That usage represents 51 percent of Minnesota's adult residents.
The survey was conducted to support the organization's efforts to close Minnesota's digital gap. Connect Minnesota explores the barriers to broadband adoption among various demographics as a way to boost more Internet usage.
Connect Minnesota State Program Manager Bill Hoffman noted that the research shows that mobile broadband plays an ever-increasing role in how Minnesotans get online. A previous study showed that only 39 percent of the state's adults used a mobile Internet service.
"As we look ahead, I think mobile broadband will continue to be an integral part of Minnesota's broadband landscape," Hoffman stated.

CoCo recognized for "cool" co-working space

Business Insider, a site covering finance, strategy, tech, and other topics, recognized CoCo as one of 17 "coolest co-working spaces in America."
The site focused on CoCo's Minneapolis space, housed on the historic trading floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The space's 20,000 square feet, unique meeting rooms, and game rooms all garnered praise, as well as CoCo's in-room beverage service and catering options.
Other co-working spaces that got a nod for coolness include Citizen Space in California, CoLab in Nashville and Orlando, The Coop in Chicago, and Jellyfish Cartel in Los Angeles.
58 Coordination/Collaboration Articles | Page: | Show All
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