RIVERFIRST restores and expands the idea of confluence to include the joining of healthy bio-filtered storm water tributaries with the river, flows of transportation and information, flows of people, capital and green revenue sources. We join the renewal of the Minneapolis riverfront with municipal needs to grow a green economy, provide jobs, join communities with healthy local food and improve the ecological health of the Mississippi River in the 21st century. When we say “put the river first”, we mean to renew its strength and diversity as a living ecosystem. In doing so, we also put the health of the city first- physical, societal and economic. The RIVERFIRST design is guided by the dynamics of the river. Where water carves and erodes, we employ the same principles to create ecological stairways that connect the water and communities. Where it deposits new material, we mold this soil into new park land.
RIVERFIRST means renewing and using the natural land topography to solve problems. The topographical design proposal reconnects historic Farview Park with the River and new skilled jobs in the River City Innovation District. The Northside Perkins Hill landform enables us to “discover” available land in section for clean industry and a future Green Port. We create moments of vertical separation between Park Trail and barge operations, allowing Park, navigation, and industry to coexist. Riverbank topography organizes the remediation design of municipal storm water and creates a public Park which provides Minneapolis with flood mitigation and bio-filtration eco-services for the 21st century. The recovery of Northside wetlands, and the design of storm water remediation ‘ravines’ on the East side integrate Park land with municipal eco-infrastructure, public access to the River and a wide range of recreation activities. As a source of public enjoyment and education, the RIVERFIRST Park shapes new ways for people to engage, recreate and socialize along the river, building public consensus to support the gradual opening of a closed pool and its transformation to a living river.