Placemaking residency to celebrate/examine Dayton’s Bluff

National health experts to pay visit

How does Dayton’s Bluff chalk up in terms of walkability?

Residents and community organizers will be considering this as they tour the neighborhood with three internationally renowned urban design experts.

A week-long “placemaking residency” put on by the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation will take an in-depth look at the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, as well as five other Twin cities locations, from a perspective of population health.

The residency operates on the premise that “there is an intersection between the built environment and population health,” said Patrick Seeb, director of the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation.

In other words, the residency will look at how to plan neighborhoods with health in mind, by improving public space. The residency events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 12 will be dedicated to examining the East Side’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.

Seeb said the Dayton’s Bluff residency is “organized around people who care deeply about their community.”

It provides tools and knowledge so people who care about improving their neighborhood can be an active part of the conversation,” he added. “They can learn the language and jargon, if you will, that positions them to be better contributors.”

The experts on hand will include:

• Dr. Richard Jackson, an expert on city planning as it relates to public health. Jackson authored the well-known book “Designing Healthy Communities” and hosted the PBS documentary series of the same name.

• Dr. Anthony Iton, the senior vice president for Healthy Communities at the California Endowment. A medical doctor and attorney, Iton oversees the organization’s long-term plan to push policies that build healthy communities. His work focuses on the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography and employment to health status.

• Gehl Studio, a San Francisco-based office of the internationally known Gehl Architects. The studio’s work crosses the fields of architecture, urban design and city planning in projects in 50 countries and 250 cities around the world.


The Dayton’s Bluff day will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, where participants will hear from a Dakota Native American educator, interim Ward 7 St. Paul City Council member Bill Finney, as well as the three experts. They’ll then take a guided tour of the surrounding trails and the Wakan Tipi Cave. Refreshments will be available from Urban Oasis.

At 9 a.m., participants will be in Swede Hollow Park, guided by Friends of Swede Hollow and the East Side Freedom Library, and then gather at Urban Roots to learn about the organization’s long history in the area.

The tour will then go up East Seventh Street, making stops at the historic Stutzman Building, the soon to be open Mississippi Market food co-op, and the St. Paul Port Authority’s Beacon Bluff redevelopment site.

Around 12:30, the tour will visit the East Side Enterprise Center, which holds a number of community-oriented organizations. Lunch will be served. After lunch, the group will visit Kitchen on the Bluff, the soon-to-open commercial incubator kitchen, as well as the Dayton’s Bluff Youth Garden.

The day concludes with panel discussions and a reception at Metropolitan State University, after which participants are encouraged to explore neighborhood establishments, including the variety of new restaurants that have popped up nearby on Payne Avenue.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

Other residency days

In addition to the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood visit, the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation’s 2015 Placemaking residency will visit a number of Twin Cities sites from May 11 through 15:
• Monday, May 11, the residents will be in Bloomington near the Minnesota River Valley Wildlife Refuge Center, looking at the relationship between the natural area and the nearby Blue Line light rail.
• Tuesday, May 12, they’ll be in Dayton’s Bluff.
• Wednesday, May 13, the residents will spend time in downtown Minneapolis and Minneapolis’ Midtown Phillips neighborhood.
• Thursday, May 14, they’ll be in downtown St. Paul’s “eco district” near the Science Museum of Minnesota.
• Friday, May 15, they’ll be along the Green Line light rail route in St. Paul’s Midway area, not far from Gordon Parks High School on University Avenue.

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