Landscapes of Hope

As the Twin Cities became the global epicenter for social and racial justice following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, we are reminded once again that “We are NOT in this together.” The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color has already exposed the fallacy that we are. To move forward in creating healthy and connected communities in which everyone can thrive, we must espouse three values:

  1. Coming together–from federal, state, and local governments to public safety officials, educators, health providers, businesses, faith leaders, city planners, designers, and citizen advocates–to denounce racism, injustice, and marginalization in all forms
  2. Eliminating disparities related to health, income, education, death, and incarceration
  3. Investing in relationship-building and dialogues

“Landscapes of Hope” features stories of communities through buildings and places in the Twin Cities where protests occurred, elaborating on how the design of the built environment can pave the way for social and racial justice, equality, freedom, and global citizenship. Keep scrolling down so you can see the 200+ buildings we have featured. See also Resources for how to work toward social and racial justice.


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is the 20th largest in the nation – close to 3 million people live in public housing and over 4 million live in housing assisted by the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in the US, around 26,000 in Minneapolis. And yet, the city is in dire need of affordable housing – about half of the city’s renters are cost burdened as they pay a ⅓ or more of their income on housing. Home however, is more than housing. Black scholars have long positioned the home as a site of resistance to mainstream ideals and stereotypes. Most notable among them is Bell hooks’ seminal essay (1990), Homeplace (a site of resistance), which conceived of home as a place of respite, one that offers peace from objectification and as the space where Blacks refine the tools that aid in their resistance, tools necessary for survival and prosperity.

Landscapes of hope – Lake Street – Residential

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

“Ayeeyo” means grandmother in Somali and in times of conflict, the poems and stories they tell become acts of communication that educate the young about emotion and complexity. During the riots however, Suad Hassan credits the wall mural of Ayeeyo Childcare Center and the fact that she stood guard for two weeks for sparing their business. She was only 7 years old when she arrived to the US from Kenya where her family fled to escape the war in Somalia. Reliving this trauma she urges those in pain to, “Tell your story. Speak up.” Million Artist Movement and Don’t You Feel It Too? came together to fill the sidewall of 1837 E Lake St with faces of Somali women and words, like “amor”, “family” and the Arabic word for civilization as a means of building community. East African business owners face language and cultural barriers that make it especially difficult to find loans and navigate bureaucracies during this time. See gofundme.

Landscapes of hope – 1837 E Lake St – Educational

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Between 2005 and 2019, over 33,000 refugees arrived in Minnesota, most from Somalia followed by Burma. CAPI USA was founded in 1982 to help refugees from Southeast Asia in the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict. In the decades that followed, CAPI expanded support for refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Self-determination and social equality are the principles guiding CAPI and my study of refugees points to the stress effects of losing one’s cultural connections and sense of continuity, which describes a relationship to an environment over time and ideas about permanence, stability, and familiarity, carrying forward for generations. As the world’s population is expected to start peaking far sooner than anticipated, and start shrinking before the end of this century, experts point to embracing immigration as the only way the US can remain the world’s most prosperous country.

Landscapes of hope – 3702 E Lake St – Services

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni