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Civic Ecology: The Evolution of the Minneapolis Park System

Heidi Hohmann, Iowa State University, Fellow 2018–2019, Spring

As a longitudinal study of the Minneapolis park system, my project seeks to document the evolutionary nature of the large-scale urban landscapes produced as part of the American park movement. An understanding of how landscape designs are implemented and change over time in the context of political, ecological, and social systems will not only influence the way we steward historic park systems, but also inform future urban design. I organized and analyzed reams of site-specific archival primary sources I’ve collected over the past ten years. I also dove deeply into contextual research, using the library’s extensive collection of 19th-century texts on park design as well as its outstanding and diverse collection of current volumes on contemporary urbanism to gain new insights on the relationship between historic and contemporary park design. This research, combined with time to think and discuss the project with other fellows, has helped me to rethink and overhaul the core structure of my book. I have written two chapters of the book and rewritten a third work, which has established both a road map and momentum for completion of the project.