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CURA Housing Forum: Context-Sensitive Development in Minneapolis Through Conservation Districts

Date and time: 
March 28, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Room L-110 Honeywell Auditorium
Carlson School of Management
321 – 19th Avenue South
University of Minnesota West Bank Campus
(directions and parking)

Presenting Speakers:

  • Greg Donofrio, Assistant Professor and Director of Heritage Conservation and Preservation, University of Minnesota School of Architecture
  • Cam Gordon, City Council Member for the Second Ward, City of Minneapolis
  • John Smoley, City Planner and Historian, City of Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development

Description: Conservation districts are planning tools used to guide context-sensitive development while preserving distinct neighborhood characteristics. Although these districts are not yet widely used in Minnesota, several Twin Cities neighborhoods are seeking more flexible alternatives to local historic designation and review. In November, 2010, a CURA Housing Forum featured a study of conservation districts across the country, and of local neighborhoods’ implementation of voluntary design guidelines (see "Alternative Forms of Historic Designation: A Study of Neighborhood Conservation Districts in the United States,” by Jessie McClurg with Greg Donofrio). This research was funded by a CURA Neighborhood Partnerships for Community Research grant to work with the Prospect Park and East River Road Improvement Association (PPERRIA).

Since that time, the City of Minneapolis has proposed the first such ordinance, amending the City’s existing heritage preservation regulations, to allow property owners to request conservation district status in areas with notable visual character, with design guidelines to be developed jointly by City staff and property owners (see Proposed Conservation District Ordinance for Minneapolis).

At the March 28 forum, Greg Donofrio will speak to conservation districts as a planning tool, and Council Member Cam Gordon and John Smoley will discuss the City’s proposed ordinance and how it can be used to balance development with sensitivity to neighborhood context. 

This CURA Housing Forum is cosponsored by the University District Alliancea partnership of communities, learning institutions, and the City of Minneapolis that works to make the area surrounding the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis one that:

  • capitalizes on its exceptional resources;
  • is vibrant, safe, healthy, and sustainable;
  • is a preferred place for people of all ages to live, work, learn, do business, and visit. 

This program is free and open to the public; preregistration is not required. For more information, call 612-625-1551.

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