Residents encouraged to apply for design teams

Minneapolis residents who have a drab spot in their neighborhood can now apply to have one of the mayor's Great City Design Teams spice it up.

Any citizen group or community-based organization in Minneapolis may apply to have a design team made up of architects, landscape architects, urban designers and developers work with residents to develop design visions for sites in their neighborhoods.

Mayor R.T. Rybak announced the creation of the design teams earlier this year. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) agreed to team up with the city and recruit 150 architects for the design teams. The teams are part of the mayor's vision to &#8220reweave” Minneapolis into a city of &#8220diverse, connected, urban villages where streets are destinations and residents can access unique goods and services nearby,” according to a statement issued by Rybak's office. The mayor has said one of the purposes of the design teams is to get residents involved in that vision and help them understand urban design and development planning.

A selection committee will choose five initial projects that the design teams will complete in early 2007. A second round of projects is planned for later in 2007. The composition and resources of the design teams are determined on a case-by-case basis.

The Great City Design Team projects can be an individual site, an intersection or several blocks along a corridor. Ideal projects &#8220identify a specific gap in the urban fabric and have a community-based partner,” according to the release from the mayor's office. Community members who propose projects should also show community need, public benefit, political and community support, potential for implementation and consistency with city planning.

Projects should also reflect at least some of the AIA's 10 Principles of Livable Communities:

- Design on a human scale

- Provide choices

- Encourage mixed-uses

- Preserve urban centers

- Provide transportation options

- Build vibrant public spaces

- Create neighborhood identity

- Protect environmental resources

- Conserve landscape

- Ensure design matters

Community organizations interested in applying for a design team need to submit a letter of interest by Thursday, Nov. 30 to:

AIA 150th Mayor's Great City Design Team

International Market Square

275 Market St., Suite 54

Minneapolis, MN 55405

For more information or to discuss an idea before deciding to apply, interested groups may contact Destin Nygard at dnygard@urban-works.com or visit the mayor's Great City Design Teams website at www.greatcitydesignteams.org.