SAH Saint Paul Seminar
Confluences: Place, Change, and Meaning on the Mississippi
Over the past several decades, river cities throughout the world have faced the challenge of reconceiving and reconnecting with their postindustrial riverfronts. The SAH Saint Paul Seminar will focus on the rapidly changing postindustrial landscapes along the Twin Cities Mississippi River corridor. For millennia this region was—as it still is—Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota people’s homeland. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Euro-Americans transformed the riverine landscape to facilitate colonization, commerce, industry, and connections with regional and global systems. Today, the Twin Cities’ riverfronts have been transformed. Multiple stakeholders—from the National Park Service, historical societies, and government agencies, to Dakota people, designers, and developers—are invested in a new wave of redevelopment initiatives that engage the past and look to the future. These raise questions about accessibility and equity; about recognizing multiple forms of heritage, tangible and intangible; and about sustaining connections between the changing riverfront and the culturally diverse communities that form the Twin Cities. This seminar will give voice to varied perspectives by convening people who are reshaping the riverfront—planners, designers, historians, and community activists—to discuss the ways priorities conflict and converge as they reconceive the river’s multilayered—and multi-vocal—landscapes. Presentations and discussion will focus on three sets of sites: B’Dote and Fort Snelling, St. Paul’s proposed River Balcony project, and Minneapolis’s mill district and proposed Waterworks Park.