2. People-Centered Communities

Use community engagement to strengthen the values and unique character of a given community and region at levels that include homes, neighborhoods, cities, the region, and the state.

The cities of Minneapolis and St Paul boast more than 100 neighborhoods, some more diverse than others. The question for planners of Culturally Enriched Communities is how to capture the wisdom that exists within these neighborhoods in planning efforts and how to support and strengthen community connections? At the same time, as people’s needs can vary due to factors such as age, gender, religion, ethnicity, ability, interests, etc., CEC are ones that strive to support and engage all kinds of people.

Best Practices

Burnsville believes in transparency figuratively and literally. As you walk through City Hall you can see into meeting rooms, offices, and chambers which are clad in glass facades. This intentional design conveys openness and ensures that “decisions aren’t being made in some back room out-of-sight of the public.” In the city chambers hang the community-defined values: a welcoming, caring, and compassionate city which offers respects to all and expects it in return. This reminds everyone, from residents to elected officials, of the city’s larger vision and that everything that is done in the city needs to work toward those values.

Transparency in City Hall

Burnsville, Minnesota

Photo credit: Marty Doll

Riverside Concerts provides the Rochester community with opportunities for high quality, diverse, and accessible musical and educational programs that create a sense of welcome and belonging, enhance the enjoyment of life, and celebrate community. The Sunday evening summer concert series helps make Rochester a more livable community and contributes to the quality of life of its residents. The City of Rochester spends about 8% of their general fund for music and other performing and visual arts in the city. In 2018, they planned to invest over $1 million in public music venues. “It’s free…everybody’s invited and the diversity that can be there is huge,” reflects Mayor Brede. The concerts are held in Mayo Park, an open-to-the-public city park, adjacent to the Zumbro River and the Mayo Civic Building and Rochester Art Center. During the concerts, downtown city streets are temporarily closed to make Rochester more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Riverside Concerts

Rochester, Minnesota

Photo credit: City of Rochester Music Dept./Riverside Concerts www.riversideconcerts.com

According to the MN State Demographic Center, Minnesota’s population will change significantly over the next 30 years and by 2035, more Minnesotans will be older than 65 than under the age of 18. Providing access to services, activities, and housing to older adults will need to be a focus of communities. The City of Richfield has already started to think of ways to best serve this population. A recent 50-unit addition to the Village Shores Senior Community provides elders a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living and memory care. The $20 million renovation included major upgrades to the 32-year old complex as well as a face lift to the strip mall in which it is located. Noteworthy is the new 16,000-square-foot clinic along with the farmers market that brings fresh produce and healthy eating options to residents.

Village Shores

Richfield, Minnesota

Photo credit: http://www.villageshoresseniorcommunity.com