This project works to transform the impermeable concrete landscape and improve outdoor livability at Riverside Plaza through participatory landscape design, installation, and care focused on stormwater management and urban habitat. This resident-centered design project is conducted in partnership with the Riverside Plaza Tenant Association (RPTA) and property managers. Since the start of planning in 2018, we have been working with 15 project stewards who are leading the engagement of their neighbors. The first raingarden on site was installed in 2019 with help from nearly 50 residents, staff, and community volunteers. In 2020, we received funding from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to expand on this and install an additional raingarden and parklet adjacent to it.
Working with project partners, we’ve utilized some innovative engagement strategies at Riverside Plaza. In 2020, we’re working with the Ecosong Team at the University of Minnesota through their Song Garden project to facilitate the writing and recording of a song about the Riverside community and its relationship to water and gardening. The song will be written and performed by Riverside Plaza residents and will be embedded in the signage at the raingardens for community members to experience. More information on that project here.
Throughout this project, residents and staff at Riverside have shared some of their stories about the impact the project has had. We’ve included a couple of those stories below:
Storyteller: Dube “This project has been able to bring different people together that have lived together in the same building for decades, for the same mission. That’s been really good. It has brought a lot of beautiful greenery to a community that I have lived in a long time, but never saw much intention. I used to do this in Afric, and forgot a little but now it’s like getting used to doing something that you love but in a new place”
Storyteller: Tamerat “The project helps global warming in a small scale. When I wake up in the morning and this is part of my work and the stewardship, these flowers make my day brighter. When you have gatherings you build really good relationships. When I walk through or drive by here, I will remember that I planted and matured this garden and that’s my footprint right there.”