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About the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI)

The Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI) is a design-based strategy, lead by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board with public and private input, to leverage parks as the engine for sustainable recreational, cultural, and economic development along the riverfront, reclaim the Mississippi – one of the three great rivers of the world and America’s “fourth coast” – as the source of our regional identity, and establish our region as a leading river community for the 21st century.

The MR|DI is the successor of the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, the largest landscape architecture and urban design competition in state history, which built on the award-winning Above the Falls master plan to address 5.5 miles of the Mississippi River and adjacent neighborhoods stretching from the Stone Arch Bridge to the city’s northern border.

The MR|DI’s Design-based Workplan

The MR|DI is simultaneously operating along seven strategic tracks to produce a Design Development Strategy for the Upper Riverfront in Minneapolis. As outlined and guided by MR|DI Project Manager, Mary deLaittre, this is a design-based process that incorporates research, analysis and synthesis to produce – and realize – a feasible framework and development plan that is equal parts inspiration and sustainability.


  1. Organizational Development – Create community-based Steering, Technical and Advisory committees to help shape the design development strategy.
  2. Planning, Design & Construction – Research, analyze and synthesize information to create the final deliverable: recommendations for a long-term development framework and short-term project(s) identification.
  3. Community Engagement – Reconnect the broader community with the river and provide opportunities for community members to substantively engage in the creation of the design development strategy and contribute their knowledge of the river and neighborhoods.
  4. Resource Identification – Identify public and private financing to ensure sustainable development.
  5. Political – Cultivate support and advocacy.
  6. Integration – Analyze existing plans, projects, proposals and organizational structures to coordinate efforts and outcomes, including Above the Falls and the Park Board’s Comprehensive Plan.
  7. Communication – Maintain the open exchange of information among the MR|DI, the public and stakeholders, communicate clearly, frequently and with transparency.