Fall 2022 deadline is August 5

The Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) builds the power and capacity of community-based organizations to create social change through partnerships with the University of Minnesota. We match the research and technical needs of organizations with student research assistants to carry out community-defined and -guided projects. CURA works with organizations selected for the program to create shared understanding and action based on the results.

The deadline for Fall 2022 projects proposals is August 5, 2022. The projects will run from early September through mid-January.

More details on submitting your proposal:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a project idea, please feel free to reach out to at C Terrence Anderson at canders@umn.edu or Lee Guekguezian at guekguel@umn.edu.

The Nelson Program is generously funded by the McKnight Foundation.

Recent Kris Nelson Community Based Research projects

Organization: Phillips West Neighborhood Organization (PWNO)
Project description: In late 2020 - in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, racial justice uprisings, and internal transitions - the Phillips West Neighborhood Organization (PWNO) decided to take on a strategic planning process to reevaluate its work. The basis of this process was recommitting to a vision for where PWNO’s work is rooted in the expressed needs and desires of those who live, work, and go to school in the Phillips West neighborhood. The Phillips West Community Survey has been the cornerstone of this commitment. Starting in February 2021, a group of residents convened bimonthly as a Strategic Planning Committee to bring this survey into being, working both with PWNO staff and collaborators through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). This resident-led committee co-designed the survey, offered guidance for its distribution, and pointed towards important questions for evaluation.

Final Report: What do Residents of Phillips West Want? Phillips West Neighborhood Organization Community Asset Mapping

Organization: The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Board of Directors
Project description: This report intends to provide an analysis of industrial land use and industrial zoning in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Industrial land use and industrial zoning have played an important role in shaping and enabling the Arts District, which now supports approximately 1200 artists working across about 1.2 million square feet of building space. This report also engages with the building owners of arts use buildings in the Arts Districts. They provide insights into the benefits the Arts District creates for artists and business owners, and they articulate the value that the historically industrial buildings of the Arts District offer. Throughout six interviews with Northeast Minneapolis Arts District arts building owners, common themes were identified. 

This report concludes with case studies of U.S. cities that have strong Creative Index Values, similar to Minneapolis. Land use and zoning regulations in these cities advised the policy recommendation of this report; to explore the implementation of an Arts District Overlay in the forthcoming future land use of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan. This Arts District Overlay would create tools and policies for accomplishing the arts related action steps set out in the 2040 Plan. The Arts District Overlay would focus on stimulating the retention and development of arts-production spaces and encouraging adaptive reuse of historically industrial buildings in mixed-use developments with arts-production at the focal point. With Minneapolis’ recent establishment of the Department of Arts & Cultural Affairs and the upcoming implementation of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, there is an abundance of opportunity for our city to develop programs and capacities to support the powerful Minneapolis arts economy.

Final Report: Industrial Land Use and Zoning in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District

Welcome to Lee Guekguezian, CURA's new Community Based Research Programs Coordinator

CURA is excited to announce Lee Guekguezian as our new Community Based Research Programs Coordinator, who will be helping out with the Kris Nelson program, Public Policy Design Lab, Krusell Fellowship and other Community Based Research programs. When Lee was a graduate student at UCLA pursuing her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, she worked with CURA's Community GIS program. Please join us in welcoming Lee to CURA! Read more about Lee.