Page 1

SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest




Visiting the Ecoregions

Art inspires landscape Landscape inspires art INDUSTRY on the WATERFRONT and VEGETATION on the ROOF NEW MASLA WEBSITE Top 5 landscape architectural innovations

a publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

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On the Cover: Robert Dorlac’s “Camden Series No. 61” (2006) is an example of how landscape inspires art and how art can inspire landscape architects. The region depicted is the Prairie Coteau, a high grassy moraie cut with wooded river valleys in southwestern Minnesota. Read more about art and landscape in topic:art Read more about ecoregions (including the Prairie Coteau) in topic: nature image courtesy Groveland Gallery


issue #6






Green From the Top Down

Inspiration and Influence

What is the status of the green roof movement in Minnesota?

How art improves landscape architects. How landscape improves art.

by Camilla Correll

by Regina M. Flanagan

whips The Forest for the Trees

Valued Places Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Como Park Fellow’s Top 5





Regional Differences

The Still Mighty Mississippi

An ecoregional tour of Minnesota

The Saint Anthony industries that built Minneapolis are gone, but the river still works.

by Adam Regn Arvidson and Veronika D. Phillips

by Erin Hanafin Berg

2 4


Innovation in landscape architecture with Steven King

In Other Words



:Magazine Fabric Architecture

__SCAPE is published quarterly by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA). __SCAPE is FREE. To subscribe, go to and click on _SCAPE. Then, type your e-mail into the subscription box. Send general MASLA inquiries to: MASLA International Market Square 275 Market Street, Suite 54 Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-339-0797

MASLA Executive Committee Bruce Chamberlain, president John D. Slack, past president

FAX 612-338-7981

Ellen Stewart, president-elect

Send general __SCAPE inquiries, letters to the editor,

Jean Garbarini, treasurer

and advertising requests to: Adam Regn Arvidson MASLA Director of Communications 4348 Nokomis Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-968-9298 issue #6

Sonia Walters, secretary Jim Hagstrom, trustee Matthew Rentsch, director of public relations Mike Jischke, director of programs Richard Wiebe, director of academic affairs Bruce Lemke, co-director of awards and banquet Stephanie Grotta, co-director of awards and banquet Adam Regn Arvidson, director of communications


The Forest for the Trees editor’s note

I believe that landscape architects, on the whole, are not

meant to preserve examples of each of our varied ecosys-

digital people. We are not likely to make the next big

tems; like an industrial/recreational waterfront whose

advance in virtual reality, nor is my money on us discov-

existence is owed to geography, geology, and political

ering other theoretical dimensions. There are exceptions,

wrangling; like a cadre of galleries, artists, and designers

of course, but, for the most part, we’re not big bloggers,

who are displaying, making, and using art for inspiration

spammers, or e-zine aficionados.

about the landscape. We have a few examples of those writers and stories right here in these pages.

Which is why _SCAPE is in your hands now. I mean literally in your hands. Normally, it’s digital.: _SCAPE resides

As you read (not scan and scoll, but actually read!) these

in the ether and humbly asks you to print your own copy.

stories, keep in mind everyone who has contributed

But this time we decided to print a copy for you.

to this magazine is a volunteer. Each has given their time, talents, and knowledge to the understanding and

Yes, in large part this is because there are a lot of landscape

communication of land and design in the upper Midwest.

architects in town (who are not going to log on at the

I would like to personally and publicly thank Frank,

convention center just to check us out). And we want to

Regina, Veronika, Erin, and Camilla for their hard work

brag a little. I know: this is very un-Minnesota, where

in getting this issue to press. If you happen to meet them

opinions are best left quietly fumed about, and conflicts

while in Minneapolis, please thank them, too.

are resolved through good solid passive aggressiveness. The upper Midwest, though, has some pretty good art,

Read on!

science, design, nature, and history writers. We also have

Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA

some pretty good stories: like a system of scientific areas

™ Spacenet Boundary Waters Canoe Climbers Area Wilderness


The difference is In our design text by John D. Slack

issue #6


Valued Places In 2001, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects published Valued Places: landscape architecture in Minnesota. This glove-box sized guidebook profiles 52 sites in the Land of Lakes, each of which has benefitted from design, care, or stewardship by landscape professionals. Here are a few samples...

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Standing Glass Fish.

them, are the platforms on which the artworks are displayed. The 1992 expansion of the garden begins




Cherry” by Claes Oldenburg (an

Curve. Two-Way Mirror Punched

easily recognizable Minneapolis

Steel Hedge Labyrinth. Sagacious

landmark) and continues north-

Head 6 (and 7). Goddess With

ward away from the Walker. This

The Golden Thighs. Spoonbridge

area, designed by landscape archi-

and Cherry. These are the names

tect Michael Van Valkenburgh,

of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

is more open than the original

The sculpture garden began in

ally, larger, and there is space


Cowles Conservatory, just west

between the Walker Art Center

of the original garden, houses

and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

horticultural displays, tropical

In 1992, the

palms (and climate), and architect

garden was expanded to 11

Frank Gehry’s “Standing Glass

acres. It is now the largest urban

Fish.” The sculpture garden is

sculpture garden in the country. The Park and Recreation Board is responsible for public information and groundskeping, while the Walker Art Center maintains the artworks themselves and coordinates all program-

The works are, gener-

for temporary installations. The

1988 as a unique collaboration

connected to Loring Park and downtown Minneapolis by a pedestrian bridge over I-94 designed by artist and architect Siah Armajani.

ming in the garden.

The garden is open all year and until

The sculpture garden is divided into

opportunity to view artworks in an

three distinct areas. The original 7.5 acre garden lies closest to the Walker and ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, ALL


consists of four rooms enclosed by high arborvitae hedges. These rooms, and the corridors between

midnight daily, offering the unique endless variety of weather and light. Over 40 works are displayed in the significant collection, including: Amaryllis.


Plates, Two Poles. Garden Seating, Reading, Thinking. Ordovican Pore. Without Words. by Adam Regn Arvidson

SCAPE fall 06


Como Park Saint Paul’s Como Park is




changing landscape architectural styles. Visited by over 2 million people per year, Como is the state’s most popular park and second overall in tourist draw to only the Mall of America. CLEVELAND’S INFLUENCE In February, 1872, landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland urged the acquisition of public lands in Saint Paul in such key scenic areas as the Summit Hill bluffs, land adjacent to the Mississippi River, and lands around Lake Phalen and Lake Como. At a time when most cities still developed parks and individual urban squares, Cleveland set the groundwork for a much larger regional vision where by parkways with Como serving as the hub.


Como is the most “developed” park in the Twin Cities

variety of attractions that continue to draw visitors from

with a rich blending of Cleveland’s lawns, curvilinear parkways, and later cultural improvements by Frederick Nussbaumer, who became superintendent in 1891.

Como Park is a Minnesota landmark because of its wide throghout the state. The Lakeside Pavilion, an elegant outdoor dance and event space, was rebuilt in the early 1990s according to its original plan.

Other efforts to

restore Como’s historic quality are evident in new light posts, picnic pavilions, and the Ordway Japanese Garden. Just completed is a tropical exhibit and learning center that links the Como Conservatory to the entry of the Como Zoo.

issue #6

by Andrew Schmidt


Saint Paul’s scenic highlights could be linked

Fellow’s Top 5


Steven King can be considered a pioneer in play equipment. His company, Landscape Structures, Inc, is known nationwide for its innovation in recreation. _SCAPE asked him this question:

What are the top 5 innovations for which landscape architects have been responsible?

Regional Planning Ian McHarg’s influential work Design With Nature (1960) set forth a new paradigm in landscape architecture and land planning. McHarg’s method of using landsape overlays to better understand the myriad aspects of a natural landscape is part of many landscape architects’ inherent design processes today. The book led to some of the earliest regional planning





connectivity of the natural environment and the suitability of different landscapes to different uses.

Paul Friedberg’s Wooden Playgrounds Continuous Play

Paul Friedberg’s work in New York City’s parks in the

“Of course I have to mention the one that has occupied the

spaces. “His use of large scale wood timbers,” describes

majority of my professional life,” says King. He is referring to the development of the connected or continuous play concept: integrated systems of play, as opposed to a swingset here a seesaw there, etc. The idea was part of his final project at Iowa State University in 1967. Today, composite play structures still dominate most play environments.

“especially downtown pedestrian

oriented spaces.” He is best known for a sequnce of plazas and fountains in Portland, OR. In Minneapolis, the original Nicollet Mall (redesigned in the 1990s) is a good example of his influence (and one of Minnesota’s

and started a trend that continued until the early 90s.”

Green Roofs

“I give a lot of credit to landscape architects who have been developing and promoting the green roof concept,” True enough: Minnesotans of northern European descent are no strangers to the sod roof. Green Roofs have come a long way. To see just how far, check out topic: law. In his position as Chairman of Landscape Structures Inc. (LSI), headquartered in Delano, Minnesota, Steven King, FASLA, has transformed his landscape architecture background into a unique entrepreneurial business. LSI is internationally recognized as one of the premier manufacturers of commercial playground and modular skatepark equipment for parks, schools, churches, and daycares. The company is committed to enhancing the quality of children’s lives through play by providing quality play environments, protecting the environment, and being responsible in the use of our natural resources. Steven originated the continuous play concept which is used in nearly all of today’s play structures. Steven has been honored as Entrepreneur of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, and with the G Mark Award (Japan). In Steven’s view, landscape architects’ understanding of the natural environment enables them to design and develop the built environment to complement or blend with this natural environment, while satisfying human needs.

SCAPE fall 06


“Lawrence Halprin changed the way we look at urban

Valued Places).

King, “forever changed the look and feel of playgrounds

says King. “It’s a new adaptation of a very old idea.”

Urban Pedestrian Spaces spaces,” says King,

mid 60s established a new way to look at public play


In Other Words Items of interest in the broader printSCAPE... WEBSITE OK, yes, you’re right: It is blatantly self serving for _SCAPE (published by MASLA) to be reviewing the brand new www.masla. org. But we’ll do it anyway, because you have to check this new site out. Completely redesigned by New Yorkbased Oviatt Media with a lot of help from MASLA Secretary Sonia Walters, this new site is designed to be useful for landscape architects, allied professionals, and the general public. It shows off our awards, lists member firms and supporting sponsors, and offers job listings. Not a landscape architect? Find out how to find one for your project or team. Find out how to become one. Or, just browse the Valued Places maps to find interesting places to visit in the state. Best of all: the calendar. Soon, you won’t have to rely on hearsay or the static monthly InCommon to know what’s going on. The calendar is active and current, and you can sign up for the free e-newsletter, which will blast a monthly reminder to your inbox. The website is the most obvious manifestation of the transformation of MASLA’s communications and public relations. We are working to streamline how we talk to our members, our allied professionals, the general public, and the press. Making the website more useful and user-friendly is one big step. So yes, this little review is self serving, but MASLA

we’re pretty proud. Take a visit and let us know what you think at issue #6


In Other Words I came to hear about FA roughly ten years ago when its


editor, Bruce Wright, AIA, approached me to work as an

Fabric Architecture

industrial fabrics. Trained as an architect at the University

occasional writer on landscape architectural applications of

review by Frank Edgerton Martin

of Minnesota, Wright is a self-described “magazine lover”

Since its founding in the Twin Cities in the early 20th

was more recently one of the authors of Ralph Rapson:

century, the Industrial Fabrics Association International

Sixty Years of Modern Design.

who has served as editor for Architecture Minnesota and

(IFAI) has grown into the world-wide trade association for more than 2,000 manufacturers of fabric related products

Of the many high-quality American design magazines, FA

for awnings, tensile structures, geo-textiles, boating, and

is one of the least-known to landscape architects, perhaps

tents. With very little fanfare, Minnesota has become

because it has been marketed more heavily to architects.

one of the world’s knowledge hubs for industrial fabric

Yet, its scope of topics, ranging from woven metal mesh to

technology. Who knew?

geosynthetic liners for green roofs, is remarkably relevant for innovative and sustainable projects.

Based in Roseville, IFAI publishes seven professional magazines aimed at diverse industries and markets.

As a bi-monthly magazine, FA covers both high-profile

Written for architects and landscape architects, Fabric

design projects such as the use of sophisticated fabric

Architecture (FA) is IFAI’s design flagship publication

screens integrated with the facades of Jean Nouvel’s

that, according to IFAI, “informs designers, landscape

Cartier Center in Paris and seemingly mundane yet effec-

architects, engineers and other specifiers about architec-

tive uses such as erosion control for horse trails. Recently

tural fabric structures, the fibers and fabrics used to make

redesigned, the magazine is divided into four major

them, their design possibilities, their construction, and

sections including: Features, Expertise, Practice, and

issues regarding their applicability and acceptance.”

Foundation. In the near future, FA will record developments in fabrics that can collect energy, such as the flexible photovoltaic cells that are being laminated into fabric by Iowa Thin Film Technologies, Inc. These energy-generating fabrics will someday be part of military tents, roofs, building walls and parking lot screens. It’s only a question of time before fabrics will also be able to display data and changing images or colors. Wright points out that lightemitting fabrics are already available. Many trade journals are little more than collections


of advertisements and self-serving articles written by


magazine clearly guided by the editing of a professional

member companies. FA stands out in this category as a architect with an eye for new tools to help his peers. Like glass and metal wall systems, industrial fabrics are rapidly changing with technology. Landscape architects




an in-house writing-for-hire service customized to any project you have on your plate (and don’t want there...) award submittals cut sheets web copy proposals promotional literature

I come to you flat rates (no matter how long it takes) immediate file transfer full ownership rights

call Adam Arvidson for a free brochure or consultation 612-968-9298

should become more acquainted with this industry—and perhaps “encourage” IFAI and its members to support products made of low-impact materials with long-term reuse options. FA is on line at Subscriptions are available on line and are $44 for one year. SCAPE fall 06

topic: law


he number of green roofs in the Twin Cities

Extensive green roofs are designed to be lightweight

Metropolitan Area has doubled in the past

(thinner soil profile) and low maintenance while

two years.

As of this publication, the Twin

maximizing the benefits to the building. As such, they are

Cities Metropolitan area is home to roughly fifty green

not accessible to the public and are primarily designed to

rooftops that cover 100,000–200,000 square feet of our

extend the life expectancy of the roof, reduce heating and

urban landscape. To put this in perspective, the City

cooling costs, manage stormwater, and reduce the the

of Chicago leads the development of green rooftops in

urban heat island effect. Most green rooftops currently

North America with nearly 3 million square feet of green

being developed in the Twin Cities are extensive. The

rooftops either completed or being installed. In Germany,

Minneapolis Central Library, Lebanon Hills Regional Park

one in eight new buildings includes a green rooftop.

Visitors Center, and Ramsey Washington Metropolitan

Currently, the green roof trend in Minneapolis is catching

Watershed District headquarters are good examples.

up with cities like Chicago and Portland. The question of whether Minneapolis and the surrounding Metro Area

Intensive green roofs are generally designed as a green

will succeed in this endeavor appears to depend on two

space amenity that can support greater loads and as such

things: (1) the policies and incentives adopted to “require”

have public access. These rooftops are generally heavier,

or “promote” this technology, and (2) public demand.

thicker, and can support a wider range of plants. As a result, intensive green roofs require more structural

There are many types of green roofs, or ecoroofs as they are sometimes called, but they

support and maintenance than an extensive green roof. The best example of an intensive green

are generally divided into two

rooftop in the Twin Cities is Brit’s

categories: extensive and

Pub where the roof has been


converted into a field for lawn bowling.

Green From the Top Down

Green Roofs are sprouting up all over the Twin Cities. What’s driving the increase? And what can Minnesota do to get even more? by Camilla Correll

The green roof on the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center at Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis was designed by landscape architecture firm The Kestrel Design Group. It is an example of a extensive green roof.

issue #6

topic: law

Aesthetics – Research has demonstrated that looking out onto green space provides psychological/healing benefits to people. A green roof can also add to the aesthetic appeal of a building thereby increasing the value of the property and the marketability of the building as a whole.

Increased Biodiversity – In communities where open space is scarce, creating and maintaining green space becomes a vital component of urban biodiversity. Biodiversity could increase as green roofs become a larger component of the urban landscape.

Improved Air Quality – Green roofs have the ability to absorb air pollutants and dust. If sufficient urban surfaces are covered, green roofs may have the ability to reduce smog.

Noise Reduction – Noise generated in an urban setting (e.g. machinery, traffic, airplanes) can be absorbed, reflected or deflected by green roofs.

Reduction of the Urban Heat Island Effect – Green roofs have the ability to substantially reduce the surface temperature of the roof.

Energy Savings – The insulating properties of green roofs result in overall energy savings through reduction in heating and cooling costs, because temperature variation is not as extreme as with traditional roofing systems. A 10,000 square foot green rooftop on Chicago’s city hall has reduces energy costs by $0.50 per square foot per year.

Stormwater Management – Green roofs can provide stormwater quantity (rate and volume) and quality benefits by retaining rainfall on the rooftop and allowing it to be taken up by plants before being collected in the drainage system.

Long-Term Cost Savings - The biggest single benefit that a green rooftop can bring to a building is extending the life expectancy of a roof membrane. A membrane with a life span 15–20 years under the conventional gravel ballast material can be extended to 35-50 years under a green rooftop. This is because the aging factors of UV radiation and temperature extremes are greatly reduced.

Public Perception - Promoting a green image as a marketing strategy is becomeing prevalent in corporate culture.

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Installation Costs – There is a wide-range of green roof costs. Currently, installation costs range

from $10 to $25 per square-foot, whereas a conventional roof

ranges from $3 to $20. SOLUTION: It is anticipated that the installation costs for green roofs will decrease as the market develops.

Conventional Design Constraints – The application of green roofs may force both the design

industry and regulatory bodies to re-think tried and true methods. SOLUTION: Increasing numbers of installed examples of increasing ages will help allay concerns. •

Lack of Industry Standards – To date, industry standards for the design and construction of green roofs have not been readily available in North America. In Germany, the FLL (the Landscaping and Landscape Development and Research Society) has developed standards that are used in design, construction, and monitoring. SOLUTION: In October 2001, the American Society for the Testing of Materials (ASTM) established a Green Roof Standards Task Group to develop national standards. A number of standards have been published and more are on the way.

Limited Data – There is a limited amount of local data supporting the economic and environmental benefits of green roofs. SOLUTION: Continued monitoring of case studies such as the Chicago City Hall green roof and the test green roof at Elmhurst, IL, based Conservation Design Forum will provide additional data.

Lack of Awareness and Public Perception – There are a number of “awareness” issues that impede the more wide-spread use of green roofs. SOLUTION: Education, for example: the majority of people don’t realize that green roofs are an old technology that has been used by the building community for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Fear of Failures – Given the fact that green roofs are less common than traditional roofing systems and are being designed to store water for plant growth, people have a fear that these systems are more prone to failure than traditional systems. SOLUTION: Increasing numbers of built examples will prove quality.


SCAPE fall 06


ocally, the single regulated incentive for green

Green Roof Innovator: Germany

roofs is stormwater management. For example, the City of Minneapolis has adopted a Stormwater

Internationally, Germany has seen the most significant application of

Credit Program that gives property owners the incentive

green roof technology. Germany offers financial incentives for green

to implement effective stormwater management practices

roofs including direct subsidies, ranging from 50 cents to more than $6

on their properties. The program provides stormwater

a square foot, based on the avoided costs of infrastructure maintenance

fee credits to property owners who install stormwater

and replacement. Taxes and use fees are also levied on stormwater

Best Management Practices (BMPs) to manage on-site

management facilities. In some cities, buildings with impervious roofs

stormwater quality and/or quantity. The City encourages

are required to pay a 100% utility surcharge. This can be reduced by

green roof development by offering a 50 percent credit on

up to 80% if the owner installs a green roof. Another type of indirect

stormwater utility fees for developments that include best

subsidy lets developers count green roofs toward meeting open space

management practices designed to address stormwater

requirements. Some land development ordinances in Germany allow

quality. If the green roof is also capable of retaining the

green roofs to compensate for lost open space at a ratio of 0.50 to

stormwater runoff generated for the 10-year 24-hour

0.70. As a result of this approach, the green roof industry in Germany

rainfall event, the project would be eligible for a credit on

has seen a growth rate of approximately 15 to 20 percent per year.

the remaining 50 percent of the stormwater utility fee. In addition to the City of Minneapolis,







water management organizations and regulatory agencies that have adopted standards that promote the application of green roofs. For example, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s NPDES/SDS permits for construction sites, industrial facilities, and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) allow for the use of green rooftops if labeled an “alternative method.”


methods must satisfy additional conditions as outlined in the General Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity. Another example is the Brown’s Creek Watershed District (BCWD) located on the eastern edge of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The BCWD has a

The Como Park Visitor and Education Resource Center, above, designed by Hammel, Green & Abrahamson (HGA) includes a rooftop plaza and planter boxes with native vegetation.

stormwater management rule that requires new development and redevelopment to meet pre-development rates and volume for the 1.5-year 24-hour rainfall event (2.6 inches). One of the best management practices that can be used to meet this standard is green roofs. While it is difficult to quantify the number of green roofs designed and constructed as a result of these regulations and incentives, it appears that, locally, stormwater management is not the main driver of green roof implementation. issue #6

To date, not a single green roof has been constructed in the City of Minneapolis as a result of the stormwater utility. According to Paul Chellsen, an engineer with Minneapolis Public Works, the reduction in stormwater utility fees is too small compared to the cost of designing and constructing a green roof to make this an incentive to homeowners or developers at this point. Similarly, no green roofs have been designed and constructed as a result of the NPDES stormwater regulations or the Water


topic: law

Green Roof Innovator: Chicago

Management Organizations regulations. Again, the cost

According to the first North American green roof industry survey

of constructing a green roof is higher than the cost of designing a stormwater management facility that can be constructed on the ground or under the ground. The other communities presented in this article (see Green Roof Innovator sidebars) demonstrate that mandates stimulate green roof construction more than regulated incentives. The federal environmental laws in Germany requiring mitigation or compensation for loss of natural open space caused by development, coupled with the high urban density and real estate values, make green roofs a more viable option for new development and redevelopment. Similarly, the requirements for green roofs on new development and redevelopment in Chicago and Portland have put these cities on the map for green roof installation. While incentives are appealing and provide the regulatory flexibility some communities prefer, there may be too many obstacles in North America at this time to make green roofs an automatic choice from a financial standpoint.

performed by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (April 2006), Chicago, Illinois, was ranked the number one city for green roof square footage planted in 2005. This is not surprising considering the vision of Mayor Richard Daley, Hon. ASLA, to make Chicago the greenest City in the country. To achieve this goal, the City of Chicago has implemented a number of mandates and regulatory incentives designed to increase the application of green roofs by addressing a variety of environmental protection goals. For example, the Chicago Energy Conservation Code allows that portion of any roof covered by a rooftop garden or a green roof to be exempted from the roof reflectance requirements of the Building Code. This code was established to help accomplish Chicago’s Urban Heat Island Reduction Initiative. In addition, the City of Chicago increases development square footage, known as floor area premiums, when these developments include public amenities such as plazas, pocket parks, block connections, transit improvements, wider sidewalks, and green roofs. The Chicago


Department of Zoning states, “A floor area premium shall be granted

ingly demonstrating both the economic and environmental

certain standards.

o what is to be concluded from this discussion of the regulatory drivers to green roof installation? Clearly, the mandates are working better than the

incentives due to some of the barriers we are experiencing in North America today. Research, however, is increas-

for a roof that is covered with plants that reduce the “urban heat island” effect and stormwater runoff from buildings in the central business district. To qualify for a floor area premium, a minimum of 50% of the roof area at the level of the green roof, or a minimum of 2,000 square feet (whichever is greater), must be covered by vegetation that meets

benefits of this technology. If the City of Minneapolis, and the Metropolitan Area as a whole, are seeing growth in the green roof market that is not a direct result of mandates or regulatory incentives, what is it about our community that is spurring this trend in green roof construction? I would suggest that public demand for green design, coupled with the regulatory community’s efforts to promote green roofs, is resulting in a greener roofscape throughout the Metropolitan Area. Green roofs provide so many environmental and economic benefits that it just makes sense to apply this technology in an urban setting. Unfortunately, a significant number of the green roofs being designed end up on the cutting floor as project budgets reach their limits. Until we can demonstrate a direct cost savings to the development community, it might take stronger regulations to resurrect the green roofs being designed

Resources The Fifth Annual International Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show will be held from April 29 – May 2, 2007 in Minneapolis. The conference is organized by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) a non-profit industry association working to promote the green roof industry in North America. Learn more at GRHC is also in the process of developing an accredited green roof professional designation, and currently offers the following design courses at major cities throughout the United States: Design 101 – Green Roof Introductory Course and Design 201 – Green Roof Infrastructure: Design and Installation. Visit to see where the next classes are being held.

and actually get them constructed.

The Twin Cities Green Roofs Council (TCGRC) hosts quarterly tours and infor-

Camilla Correll, P.E. is a water resources engineer with Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) a local multi-disciplinary environmental consulting firm. Ms. Correll specializes in sustainable development and the application of alternative stormwater management techniques. She is actively involved in the Twin Cities Green Roof Council and is interested in seeing the application of this technology become more wide-spread in the Metropolitan Area.

the TCGRC or to participate in upcoming events please contact Corrie Zoll at


mational sessions about green rooftops in the Twin Cities. To learn more about the Green Institute at or at (612) 278-7119. These events will also be posted on the MASLA website at

SCAPE fall 06

Green Roof Innovator: Portland, Oregon Since 2001, the City of Portland has been recognized as a leader in promoting sustainability and green building initiatives, and has striven to expand market demand and make green building practices, such as green roofs, easier to implement. As a result of this effort, the City’s Green Building Policy requires “design and construction of all new City-owned facilities and roof replacement projects to include an ecoroof (green roof) with at least 70% coverage AND high reflectance, Energy StarTM-rated roof material on any remaining non-ecoroof surface area; OR, Energy StarTM-rated roof when an integrated ecoroof/Energy StarTM-rated roof is impractical.” In addition, the City of Portland requires that all (public and private) building projects in the City that will result in at least 500 square feet of impervious surface must implement stormwater

Twin Cities Green Roof Council organized a tour of the extensive green roof on the Edgewater Condominium Suites on Lake Calhoun, designed by The Kestrel Design Group, Inc.

pollution reduction and flow control measures, as which ecoroofs qualify. The City has also developed a floor area ratio (FAR) bonus in which buildings can receive bonus FAR based on three ranges of ecoroof coverage in relation to the building’s footprint: 10-30%, 30-60%, and 60% or greater earns one, two, and three square feet of additional floor area per square foot of ecoroof respectively. Basically, this gives a developer more building to sell if they implement an ecoroof: a powerful incentive.

Several Municipal legal documents include language on green roof mandates and incentives, including: •

City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance can be found at

“Portland’s Green Building Policy: A Status Report




of Portland, OR. Office of Sustainable Development. April 2005. •

City of Portland Stormwater Management Manual. Portland, OR. Adopted July 1, 1999; revised September 1, 2004.

City of Portland “Zoning Code for the Central City Plan District.” Planning and Zoning, Chapter 33.510. 4/22/06.

The Minneapolis Stormwater Fee website is For a more detailed overview, see “The Stick and the Carrot, an Effective Approach to Green Roof Policy.” Chellsen, P. and Robertson, K. 2006 Conference Proceedings Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities. Boston, May 11-12, 2006. issue #6


parc vue

Mary Sallstrom, Minneapolis Sales Office 800.480.3636 | 952.898.3230 | 952.898.3293 fax |







topic: art

Inspiration and Influence

How art improves landscape architects. How landscape improves art. by Regina M. Flanagan, Associate ASLA


here do you find inspiration for your work?

Press for many years before she studied landscape archi-

What keeps your ideas moving forward?

tecture. Hellekson says that art does inspire her practice,

When I seek inspiration, I either leave town to

but that she thinks it’s more a matter of influence: the

photograph one of my landscape haunts or stay in the city

subtle way that many kinds of art -- not just landscape-

and visit an art museum or gallery. Recently, exploring

related works – affect her visual preferences and how she

the new Target Wing at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts,

understands the world. Some works by Robert Smithson

I was moved by a display of 19th and 20th century Native

and Christo have nurtured her fondness for large, unmis-

American bags. The finely beaded patterns adorning bags

takably human gestures in the landscape. But on a day-

by Woodland tribes like the Anishinabe (Ojibwe) use the

to-day basis, Hellekson is more indebted to painters for

twining floral motifs of the North’s lush forests, while the

their use of color (for example Pierre Bonnard or Howard

Apsaalooka (Crow) people of the Great Plains decorate

Hodgkin) and their attitude and sense of composition

their bags with motifs of the spare geometry of the prairie.

(say Giorgio Morandi or Jean Miro). She hopes that on a

Shouldn’t the objects we surround ourselves with and the

subconscious level some of what she admires about these

places we design have a more profound connection to our

artists seeps into her design work.


physical environment and a similar vitality? While designing or selecting site furnishings, Hellekson Curious to see whether other design professionals feel

sometimes thinks of artist-made furniture. She refer-

the way I do, I asked three landscape architects and one

ences work in local sculpture gardens including Kinji

writer (all of whom I know have a strong interest in art)

Akagawa’s stone bench with reading podium, Jenny

to talk about how art and artists inspire their practice of

Holzer’s granite benches with carved aphorisms at the

design. Diane Hellekson, now at HNTB Corporation in

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, or Scott Burton’s granite

Minneapolis, was an art critic at the Saint Paul Pioneer

chairs in the General Mills corporate collection. Hellekson

“Bringing in the Trees,” by Chris Faust (1990), above, is part of the Suburban Documentation Project, a collaboration between Faust and planner and historian Frank Martin. issue #6


certain points or did Martin reach his conclusions after

topic: art

interpreting Faust’s images? Martin explains that he would do the field research but then Faust would choose says that she has probably imitated works like these a

the final aspects, and after he made enough photos, they

few times when employing found or imported slabs of

would get a cross-section that Martin could interpret. The

stone and wood. Though she does not feel her furniture

photos took tangents that showed the social and environ-

and structural elements have reached the level of art, they

mental costs that are not factored into traditional devel-

are, she says, better because she was aware of the higher

opment analyses. Martin and Faust have received grants

possibilities of the materials.

to examine similar suburban development in Portland,


Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; and

riter and landscape historian Frank Edgerton

Omaha, Nebraska. Martin says while copycat photogra-

Martin has collaborated with photographer

phers have arisen to document suburbia and emphasize

Chris Faust since they met in 1990 at a local

the clichés, Faust is unique because he approaches this

Dunn Brothers coffee shop in Saint Paul, where Faust was

displaying his panoramic photos. Having driven through the rapidly developing suburbs of Apple Valley and

subject with a mix of empathy and understanding.

Chris Faust’s “The Edge of Infrastructure” (1990), along with other images of the Suburban Documentation Project, examines developing suburbia in stark but objective terms.

Woodbury, Martin had been thinking about why the design landscapes. He realized that Faust’s photographs could

Faust went on to work with Joan Iverson Nassauer,

provide a public forum to discuss these issues. Art could

FASLA, and others on the book Placing Nature, Culture and

function to make the familiar, strange. Martin approached

Landscape Ecology; with Kathleen Dickhut of the Chicago

Faust who was intrigued by the idea and the Suburban

Parks Department on the Master Plan for the Calumet

Documentation Project (SDP) was born. SDP’s purpose

River; with Cultural Landscapes Foundation founder

is to gather data about popular tastes and development

Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, on a survey of Samual Parsons

patterns in new suburbs so that future historians might

work in New York City; and with landscape historian

understand how late-20th century suburbs looked when

Arnold Alanen to examine the Morgan Park neighborhood

they were new. SDP also strives to spark a discussion

in Duluth, Minnesota. Faust’s images documenting the

about the consequences of this rapid growth. Housed at

suburban fringe have made an impact on many landscape

the Hennepin History Museum, the project now includes

architects, including Hellekson, who says they are lasting

over 1,000 images and is available to designers, journalists

reminders of how critical our design choices can be and

and the public online (see Resources).

what a huge responsibility we often have. After studying many built landscapes through the lens, Faust has become

Faust has been a catalyst for some of Martin’s best work

more critical of what he sees and concludes that the best

and I asked Martin about the nature of their collabora-

projects make the landscape look like it was always that

tion. Did he dispatch Faust to photographically illustrate



SCAPE fall 06


community has so little say in these emerging vernacular


homas Oslund, founder of Minneapolis-based

his office recently moved downstairs to a different space

oslund.and.assoc., saw an exhibition at the Walker

within the Wyman Building, Coen and his team designed

Art Center during the 1970s featuring earthwork

the new office and the gallery so that they could operate

artists Richard Long, Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer,

independently but be an integral part of each other. He

and others, and became motivated to study landscape

says landscape architecture is frequently deadline driven,

architecture. “These artists see landscapes as points in

and, as a result, stressful, and the quiet gallery space

time,” describes Oslund, “in geological, phenomeno-

becomes a place to escape, relax, and contemplate. The

logical, or social terms – and their work defines a ‘place’

changing exhibitions help keep him and his staff feeling

that allows us to form memories and experiences, some

fresh, renewed, and inspired. The gallery has also fostered

positive and others negative.” His practice continues to be

many relationships that cross back and forth: clients for

influenced by this genre of artwork. Oslund approaches

his landscape architectural work often become gallery

projects by first developing an understanding of the larger

patrons and a significant amount of artwork is sold to

landscape in these terms and then, by using metaphor


or by abstracting that understanding using the simplest means possible, creates places that he hopes have a similar

Photographer JoAnn Verburg’s work can be seen along the Hiawatha Light Rail line, including tree images at the Bloomington Central Station.

effect. While most landscape architecture firms paper their walls with images of their past and current projects, Oslund’s office displays only two large works of art: a wall piece by Jackie Ferrara of wood panels incised with subtle geometric patterns and, on the floor, a modular granite work of undulating forms by Toshi Katayama. When Oslund was in graduate school at Harvard University, he

Landscape architecture is frequently deadline driven.... coen+partners’ quiet gallery space becomes a place to escape, relax, and contemplate. The changing exhibitions help keep the staff feeling fresh, renewed, and inspired. met Katayama, who is director of the school’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Displayed in Oslund’s office is Katayama’s maquette for a forty by forty foot vertical wall created for the Sebu Museum outside Tokyo. They have collaborated on almost a dozen projects: most recently


ll of the landscape architects and designers with whom I spoke collect artwork. Coen’s response to art is initially instinctual; he typically knows

immediately whether or not he is attracted to a work. His favorite pieces are often minimal with a multi-dimen-

they were one of four finalists for the Flight 583 Memorial

sional quality and continue to grow on him over time.

in Rockaway, Long Island. Oslund seeks out opportuni-

Similar to his own practice, he is also attracted to work

ties to work with artists and this has become one of his

that addresses social and political issues. Coen finds the

firm’s niches. He has also collaborated with Ferrara, Mary

color landscape photography of Minneapolis artist JoAnn

Miss, Siah Armajani, Andrew Leicester, Andrea Blum,

Verburg especially compelling. Her images have a layered

Rita McBride and Matthew Geller.

quality that is achieved through selective focus within the


frame and it’s easy to get lost inside her photographs, When Shane Coen, of Minneapolis-based coen+partners,

says Coen. Gallery Co collaborated with Verburg on her

took over the space of the old Jon Oulman Gallery on the

solo show this summer that was visited by curatorial staff

sixth floor of the Wyman Building, he retained the gallery

from New York’s Museum of Modern Art where she will

component. With his wife Kat Day-Coen, who is an artist,

have a retrospective in 2007 (Verburg’s permanent work

they opened Gallery Co in 2003. Coen sees his firm in part

can be seen on Minneapolis’ Hiawatha Light Rail line, see

as a place where art is created with earth and structure, and

_SCAPE Summer 05).

the gallery is a logical extension of their practice. When issue #6


topic: art

Robert Dorlac, from Marshall, Minnesota, has spent time in a variety of ecosystems. Recently, he has been painting at Camden State Park near Marshall, which lies in an

Collecting photography monographs is another way to

area called Prairie Coteau or “highland of the prairies.”

have inspiration close at hand. I find myself frequently

During the last Ice Age, glaciers ended their advance here,

reaching for books by Chicago photographer Terry Evans

forming long, high ridges, and Camden State Park lies on

including Prairie: Images of Ground and Sky about the

the plateau of the second highest ridge, 900 feet above

Konza Prairie in Kansas. One of the most compelling pair

the surrounding countryside. While on location, Dorlac

of images in the book contrasts a close-up of a buffalo’s

carries, in addition to his art materials, guides to local

wooly fur with the bird’s eye view of treetops raked by late

flora, fauna, and geography. He says that research into

afternoon light silhouetted against a dark ground plane.

the natural history of a place combined with information

The color and textures mimic each other – reminders

about the land passed to him by local people results in a

that these organisms share the same ecosystem. Recently

deeper understanding, a richer art-making process, and

Evans trained her eye on urban and suburban settings

ultimately a better artwork. Dorlac aims to capture what

and the result is the insightful Revealing Chicago, An Aerial

is unique about a place and sets it apart, but also what

Portrait. The book is a graphic primer of human effects on

someone who is familiar with that place might find evoca-

the land, and the images were also displayed in Chicago’s

tive (read more about the Prairie Coteau in topic:nature).

Millennium Park in 2005.

Research into the natural history of a place combined with information about the land passed on by local people results in a deeper understanding, a richer artmaking process, and ultimately a better artwork. Painter Robert Dorlac aims to capture what is unique about a place and sets it apart, but also what someone who is familiar with that place might find evocative Joyce Lyon of Minneapolis was inspired by the Minnesota Terry Evans’ work “Revealing Chicago: An Aerial Portrait,” which looks and urban and suburban settings, was on display in Chicago’s Millennium Park

River National Wildlife Refuge and Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Bloomington, Minnesota; and between 2000-2004, produced a series of oil pastel drawings. This


body of work focuses upon movement and stillness

Johnson, the gallery’s director, has sought out the work

essential revelations. For Lyon, the reality of this place

of artists whose passion is landscape in all its diverse

hovers somewhere between her experience of its outward

manifestations. Artists handled by the gallery such as

circumstances, and her coming to understand her own

Robert Dorlac and Joyce Lyon typically paint on site and

present place in the world.

he Midwest has a strong tradition of landscape

and light joining sky to water, and bears titles like Drift,

painting and drawing, in addition to photography,

Flow, Current, Tangle, and Shimmer. Lyon says she was

and a visit to Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis is

finding in the landscape – or applying to the landscape

always worthwhile. For the past twenty-five years, Sally

– a sense of the emblematic, hoping to reenact some small

their working process for uncovering what is unique used by landscape architects and designers.


SCAPE fall 06


about a landscape or a place is not very different from that

How artists look at environmentally significant landscapes


and respond to, interpret, and transform what they see provides new ways to understand the world: occasionally, by making the familiar strange. The landscape architects

The Suburban Documentation Project (SDP) is available on line at

and writer that I spoke with emphasize that working with artists, visiting galleries and museums, and living with original art in their workplaces and homes not only positively contributes to their lives, but in many ways also inspires them to be better designers.

Regina M. Flanagan, MLA, Associate ASLA, is an artist and landscape designer in St. Paul who writes about art, artists, and landscape architecture. Her profile of sculptor Brad Goldberg appearaed in the August 2006 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The Walker Art Center is located on Hennepin Avenue south of downtown Minneapolis, and on line at The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is adjacent to the Walker, and at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is on 3rd Avenue south of the Minneapolis Convention Center, and at Gallery Co is in the Wyman Building at 400 First Avenue North in Minneapolis, and at


The Groveland Gallery is at 25 Groveland Terrace in Minneapolis, and at

Art can be inspiring to landscape architects and other design professionals in many ways. In a literal sense, Jenny Holzer’s “Selections from the Living Series” (1989) at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, right and above, show a Minimalist treatment of space and furniture, while Joyce Lyon’s “Flow” (2005), top, demonstrates a reality hovering between the actual landscape and one’s experience of it. issue #6


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SCAPE fall 06

topic: nature

Regional Differences The upper Midwest is home to a unique mix of natural landscapes. The EPA and Minnesota DNR help describe them, while an avid traveler makes recommendations for visits by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, and Veronika D. Phillips, ASLA


uick: What ecoregion are you in? Loess Prairies?

“Capacities of the landscape vary from one region to the

Boundary Lakes and Hills?

Big Woods?

next,” says James Omernik, when asked how designers

Ecoregions (in addition to having evocative

might use his classification system. “If you’re managing

names) say a lot about landscape: what it looks like, how

for highways or their effects on ecosystems, you need to

it functions, what you can expect while driving through

consider the qualities of the ecoregion. If you’re making

it – or designing within it. Ecoregions are one of many

cities, you need to understand the qualities and tolerances

methods of ecological classification: ways of describing,

of the region to be affected.” Omernik, a geographer now

in relatively simple terms, the science of why a particular

semi-retired from the EPA and originator of that agency’s

patch of land differs from another. Ecological classifica-

ecoregions, could likely bring any project back to ecore-

tions answer questions like “What kind of plants thrive

gions, but are these descriptions and maps enough? Yes,

here?” “How is soil type affecting surface waters here?”

if your desire is to get a feel for a particular area. No, if

or “What is the overall natural character of the landscape

your desire is to zero in on its unique aspects. The key

here?” Because they answer such questions, often with

thing to remember about the national and state-by-state

both maps and narrative descriptions, ecological classi-

EPA map is that they are holistic. When Omernik began

fications are powerful inventory and analysis tools for

delineating ecoregions on a national level, he considered

landscape architects.

not just the aquatic systems he happened to be studying at the time, but all systems. This makes it understandable

They come in two basic types: general purpose and special

-- less a scientific document than an inventory/analysis

purpose. The former looks at a variety of landscape factors

graphic (though it is, of course, backed by science).

(vegetation, geology, hydrology) to establish the above-

Today, for every known ecoregion, there are beautiful

mentioned ecoregions: large-ish contiguous land areas

color-coded maps depicting its extent, GIS data that

that can be described in a specific and consistent way. Special purpose classifications rely primarily on a single factor to achieve a particular goal. Soil surveys, geologic VERONIKA PHILLIPS

maps, and vegetative cover maps are common examples. The focus here is on one general purpose methodology:

Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area, above, is a public site managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. SNAs like this one, because they have limited facilities and are left open for walking, research, and other passive pursuits, are the best places to get a sense of the character of an ecoregion. Iona’s Beach sits in a landscape called the North Shore Highlands, which is part of the Northern Lakes and Forests.

the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ecoregions. issue #6

EDITOR’S NOTE: Portions of this article were published originally by Landscape Architecture Magazine, and are used by permission of the author.


topic: nature


f you are interested in experiencing first hand the landscapes defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Level III and Level IV

displays its boundary, and (most useful of all) charts and descriptions of its general character. Ecoregions consider

Ecoregions, visit a Scientific and Natural Area (SNA). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR)

vegetation, geology, soil type, hydrology, fauna, land use

developed the Scientific and Natural Areas Program in

(often controversial in the scientific community), eleva-

the mid-1960s to preserve and perpetuate the ecological

tion, precipitation, and any other factors that might affect

diversity of Minnesota’s natural heritage, including

overall ecosystem character. In so doing, they give a broad

landforms, fossil remains, plant and animal communities,

overview of a particular spot in the world: something

rare and endangered species, or other biotic features and

landscape architects certainly crave.

geological formations. The goal of the SNA program is to ensure that no single rare feature is lost from any region

The EPA’s ecoregional mapping will give a designer key

of the state. Protecting multiple sites in each landscape

facts – what is the bedrock, what is the likely vegetation,

region is a vital means of capturing the genetic diversity

what are the general soil types, what kind of animals are

and preventing the loss of important species, communi-

there, what is the basic character – about a site’s larger

ties, and features. The MNDNR estimates that in order

ecological envelope. It will not pick up the interesting

to reach their goal, 500 natural areas will be needed in the

anomalies that often drive designers’ choices: both ecolog-

next 100 years throughout the state to adequately protect

ical and aesthetic. That is what special purpose maps are

significant features.

for. But ecoregions can still say a lot – sometimes even just with their names.

The EPA’s ecoregions for Minnesota, according to the website, are still in draft form, but they do draw from an older system devised by the DNR called, simply, the ecological classification system (ECS).

The latter is a

hierarchical system that establishes six different levels in

An Ecological Buffet

Minnesota: Provinces, Sections, Subsections, Land Type

The division of North America into ecoregions by the EPA and the CEC has resulted in 4 levels of hierarchy. These levels are nested one into the next, with Level I being the broadest (largest land area and most generalized description) and Level IV being the most detailed. Imagine having dinner at one of those large buffet chain restaurants. As you browse the culinary offerings, consider how they are arranged: one section is reserved for the salad bar, one for meats and hot entrees, one for desserts, etc. These might be considered Level I buffet regions. You move into the Level I region called “salad bar” and notice some big tubs of lettuce, an array of dressings, and little circular containers of toppings. These are Level II regions, distinguishing between types of salad fixings. You load up on the lettuce and toppings and enter the Level II region called “dressings,” which are roughly grouped into vinaigrettes, thick dressings, and low fat options. These are the Level III buffet regions: the types of salad dressing. Finally, you decide on a basic Italian, thereby selecting the equivalent of a Level IV ecoregion (the most specific choice in the buffet). Italian dressing, however, is not uniform: any particular teaspoon of the stuff will yeild a slightly different landscape of herbs and oils and seasonings. To classify these new landscapes, you need a special purpose classification system.

ECS, Provinces roughly correspond to the EPA’s Level I


Associations, Land Types and Land Type Phases. In the and Level II (which happen to be the same in Minnesota), and describe the three major landscapes in the state: the northern mixed conifer/deciduous forest, the deciduous forest, and the prairie. ECS Sections and the EPA’s Level III are generally the same, though there are variations between them, as are Subsections and Level IV. The ECS Land Type Associations, Land Types, and Land Type Phases offer more detailed information than the EPA maps. On the following pages are recommendations for visiting several of the ecoregions of Minnesota. They are categorized by the EPA’s Level I. For more SNAs, of course, visit the DNR website (see Resources).

The EPA’s Level III and IV ecoregion map of Minnesota, right, describes the differences in landscape throughout the state. The numbers refer to the travel recommendations on the following pages. These ecoregions are useful to designers wanting to understand the generalities of landscape, or those who are working at very large scales.

SCAPE fall 06




Rainy River

Thief River Falls


Upper Red Lake

ake R iver





Vermilion Lake

Riv e


R ed

Lower Red Lake

r of Rive

Red Lake Falls


Big Fo


48d Red L

r k Riv er



Rainy Lake

International Falls




Grand Marais

the North





50m Bemidji

Lake Itasca






Lake Winnibigoshish




Park Rapids



er ing Riv Cr o w W

Detroit Lakes

Two Harbors St. Louis Riv e




r rio pe


Grand Rapids

Leech Lake



Carlton Aitkin





51j Elbow Lake

Little Falls

Chipp e w a

51h pi R


Mi ssis sip


Benson Buffalo

Madison Montevideo Granite Falls ed Yellow M



i v er e R icin


Saint Peter


Bluestem Prairie SNA

47c Albert Lea







R o ot R i v er

Stewartville Preston


Ri v er

Blue Earth

ip p

r ive





dar Ce




Owatonna Waseca

Saint James v Eart h Ri Blue


Rock Ridge Prairie SNA






Red Wing


Le Center


New Ulm

iv er

i v er

R i v er


Saint Paul


od R

sR oine sM De


R iv


120 km Zumbro Falls Woods SNA







s o ta

60 mi



Cot ton wo





Redwood Falls


46k 46m

Mi nn e


Albers equal area projection Standard 29.5 N and 45.5 N 5 parallels Prairie Coteau SNA





Falls Creek SNA






Center City

Anoka Litchfield




Elk River

Iona’s Beach SNA SCALE 1:2 250 000



Saint Cloud



Red Lake Peatlands SNA

2 r



r R i ve







Mora Pine City


e Ri v

S t. C roi

Alexandria Wheaton


Long Prairie

R iv

il River

Riv e r

er T a




Mille Lacs Lake

Fergus Falls



46 Northern Glaciated Plains

49 Northern Minnesota Wetlands

51 North Central Hardwoods

46e Tewaukon/Big Stone Stagnation Moraine

49a Peatlands

51a St. Croix Outwash Plain and Stagnation Plains

46k Prairie Coteau

49b Forested Lake Plains

51h Anoka Sand Plain and Mississippi Valley Outwash

46l Prairie Coteau Escarpment 46m Big Sioux Basin 46o Minnesota River Prairie

50 Northern Lakes and Forests

51i Big Woods 51j Alexandria Moraines and Detroit Lakes Outwash Plain

50a Lake Superior Lacustrine Clay Plain

51k McGrath Till Plain and Drumlins

50b Minnesota/Wisconsin Upland Till Plain

51l Wadena/Todd Drumlins and Osakis Till Plain

47 Western Corn Belt Plains

50m Mesabi Range

47a Loess Prairies

50n Boundary Lakes and Hills

52 Driftless Area

47b Des Moines Lobe

50o Glacial Lakes Upham and Aitken

52b Blufflands and Coulees

47c Eastern Iowa and Minnesota Drift Plains

50p North Shore Highlands and Toimi Drumlins

52c Rochester/Paleozoic Plateau Upland

47g Lower St. Croix and Vermillion Valleys

50q Itasca and St. Louis Moraines 50r Chippewa Plains

48 Lake Agassiz Plain

50s Nashwauk/Marcell Moraines and Uplands

48a Glacial Lake Basin

50t North Shore Highlands

48b Beach Ridges and Sand Deltas 48d Lake Agassiz Plains

issue #6


topic: nature

Seven SNA’s Showing Minnesota’s Natural Diversity Ecoregion 5: Northern Forests 1: Red Lake Peatland SNA

Level III Ecoregion: Northern Minnesota Wetlands Level IV Ecoregion: Peatlands ECS Section: Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands Acres: 87,580 Website: This SNA is located in Beltrami, Koochiching, and Lake of the Woods Counties. It lies in an area once covered by Glacial Lake Agassiz were peatland formation took place due to the slow drainage of its waters through the glacial till. The Red Lake Peatland SNA contains the largest and most diversely patterned peatland in the United States. Visitors to this SNA can still see trails last used in the 1930s by caribou migrating to Canada. 2: Iona’s Beach SNA

Level III Ecoregion: Northern Lakes and Forests Level IV Ecoregion: North Shore Highlands ECS Section: Northern Superior Uplands Acres: 20 Website: A visitor can experience a unique landscape by taking a walk along a rare Lake Superior beach at this small SNA located in Lake County. It provides an opportunity to experience the beauty of a 300 foot long beach of salmon pink rhyolite: an igneous rock formed 1.1 billion years ago from granitic magma that reached the surface and cooled quickly when North America tried to split in half right down the middle of the lake. Ecoregion 8: Temperate Forests 3: Falls Creek SNA

Level III Ecoregion: North Central Hardwoods Level IV Ecoregion: St. Croix Outwash Plain and Stagnation Plains ECS Section: Minnesota and NE Iowa Moraines Acres: 136 Website: This SNA is considered one of the most diverse natural areas remaining in Washington County, and hosts a rare stand of virgin hardwood and white pine forest, a rarity along the St. Croix River. A spring visit will display a woodland groundlayer covered by spring ephemerals such as trillium, rue anemone, and bellwort. This SNA also provides an opportunity to view several types of Paleozoic geology including the lime- and sandstone Decorah, Platteville, Glenwood and St. Peter formations.


SCAPE fall 06


4: Zumbro Falls Woods SNA Seven of the best SNA’s, as recommended by landscape ecologist Veronika Phillips, include Zumbro Falls Woods, left, where floodplain deciduous forests provide shade for spring ephemeral wildflowers; and Rock Ridge Prairie, below and bottom, where native prairie plants, such as the downy gentian (Gentiana puberulenta), opposite bottom, thrive amongst evocative rock outcroppings.

Level III Ecoregion: Driftless Area Level IV Ecoregion: Blufflands and Coulees ECS Section: Paleozoic Plateau Acres: 300 Website: This SNA sits in an area that was untouched by the most recent glacial activity. It provides a chance for the visitor to explore the uplands, narrow valleys, and floodplains that occur along the Zumbro River, along with their coinciding plant communities. Stars of the spring show include the bluebells that grow under the basswood found along the river’s floodplain, the jeweled shooting star growing on the cliff faces, and the wild ginger, trilliums and hepatica that carpet the woodland floor. Ecoregion 9 Great Plains 5: Prairie Coteau SNA

Level III Ecoregion: Northern Glaciated Plains Level IV Ecoregion: Prairie Coteau / Big Sioux Basin ECS Section: North Central Glaciated Plains Acres: 329 Website: This SNA is unique in that it lies on terrain consisting of a series of plateau, steep slope, and valley formations resulting from the erosion of a glacial formation called an end moraine. The varied topography of this SNA provides conditions appropriate for two rare plant communities: southwestern dry hill prairie and dry sand gravel prairie.

6: Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Level III Ecoregion: Western Corn Belt Plains Level IV Ecoregion: Des Moines Lobe ECS Section: North Central Glaciated Plains Acres: 200 Website:


Located in Cottonwood County, this SNA is worth a visit for its interesting geology. It has one of the highest quality black soil prairies remaining in the area, and comprises one of a series of Red Rock Ridge Prairie Preserves that lie along a ridge of Sioux quartzite outcrops. The Rock Ridge SNA is host to the federally threatened Lespedeza leptostachya or Prairie Bush Clover.

issue #6


7: Bluestem Prairie SNA

topic: nature

Level III Ecoregion: Lake Agassiz Plain Level IV Ecoregion: Glacial Lake Basin

How the EPA Ecoregions Came To Be

ECS Section: Red River Valley James Omernik, the man behind the EPA’s ecoregions, is a geogra-

Acres: 2855

pher by training who has been poring over maps for about 25 years


trying to describe the vast and varied United States. Omernik began

Farther north in the Red River Valley in Clay County, this SNA lies in a

his national map in the 1980s by pasting special purpose maps of the

flat glacial lake plain, which once provided the conditions for tallgrass

USA (vegetation maps, soil maps, etc.) all over his office walls and

and wet prairies to dominate what is now an agricultural landscape.

examining them, somewhat intuitively, for months. Then he laid out a

This SNA is one of the highest quality prairies in the United States

blank national map and began to sketch. “I tried to find spaces where

and is one of the few places were the spring courtship of the Prairie

there seemed to be coincidence in geographic phenomena” he says,

Chicken can be observed. The large acreage of this SNA lets the visitor

“and made a scribbly kind of map.” Once he had a recognizable area

experience what this landscape once was when the infinite expanse of

on his blank map that he felt had some consistency across the board,

prairie grassland covered this entire valley.

he would name it, then return to the specialized maps on the walls to discover why that area was different than all others. Omernik soon


realized that the factors that gave a particular ecoregion its identity could vary from ecoregion to ecoregion. This was a major departure

EPA Ecoregions Website: To access Level III and IV information, go to

from earlier studies, which had defined regions based on their differing and click “Level

potential vegetation, say, or physiography. Omernik instead was

IV Ecoregions.” This will bring up a status map. Clicking on a red state

saying that one region might be best defined by its geology, another

brings up a menu of available downloads.

by soils, another by elevational banding, etc. He mapped the entire lower 48 -- the current Level III ecoregions (See sidebar: An Ecological

Ecoregion Contact Information: To obtain draft level information or

Buffet) -- published the map in 1987, and set off to test the theory.

poster sized maps and descriptions, contact James Omernik at (541) 754-4458 or or Glenn Griffith (541) 754-4465

Ohio was the lucky guinea pig. Omernik and a team of scientists of

or All maps are public domain and are usually

various types looked at about 100 reference sites scattered throughout

free for individual requests. Larger quantities of the map/posters are

Ohio’s 5 proposed ecoregions, determining that the boundaries (with

for sale by the U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25286, Denver, CO

some minor tweaking) and descriptions were accurate.



thereafter, the National Interagency Technical Team (NITT) was formed, with a mission to finalize a draft national map of “common

For more information on the SNA program and information on other

ecological regions.” Omernik was a member. In 1994 when the North

SNA’s worth a visit go to

American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed, Ed Wiken, a Canadian geographer using the same methodology as Omernik (by

The offocial guide to SNA’s is published by the Minnesota Department

coincidence of simultaneous discovery), convinced the Commission

of Natural Resources, Section of Ecological Services, Scientific and

for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) -- the establishment of which

Natural Areas Program: “A Guide to Minnesota’s Scientific and Natural

was a facet of NAFTA -- that consistency in ecological definition across

Areas,” Published 1995, Second Edition 1999.

North America was needed for international management of natural resources. Omernik and Wiken joined Mexican representatives on the

More detailed information on ecoregions nationwide was published in

publication, in 1997, of “Ecoregions of North America,” which estab-

Landscape Architecture Magazine, April, 2005. Information on special

lished broad landscape categories from the Yucatan to Baffin Island

purpose ecological classifications, specifically the National Vegetation

(the Level I and II ecoregions).

Classification System (NVCS), appeared in Landscape Architecture Magazine, May, 2005.

Interestingly, at about the same time the CEC was aggregating Omernik’s Level III ecoregions into larger, broader landscapes, many states were coming to the EPA wanting smaller regions. Omernik began working with states to establish Level IV ecoregions: the finest grain in the EPA’s system and the most useful for site- or watershedbased projects.

Veronika Phillips, ASLA, holds a Master in Landscape Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Minnesota. Veronika’s work after graduate school was at a non-profit specializing in restoring native habitats along the Mississippi River. Most recently, she has started her own business, Wild Ginger Outdoor Design, which allows her to continue in her commitment to promote the ecological health of the earth. Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, is editor of _SCAPE Magazine and founder of Treeline, a design/writing consultancy. He is a regular contributor to Landscape Architecture Magazine.


SCAPE fall 06

topic: business

The Still Mighty Mississippi

by Erin Hanafin Berg

The history of the Saint Anthony Falls area of Minneapolis is well-interpreted, but a little farther upstream the river is still industrial. Is it a blight? Or a window into history?


ery few of the dog-walkers, joggers, and bikers

When Minneapolis and its peer city across the river, Saint

that frequent the West Mississippi River Parkway

Anthony, were founded in this area, the roar of the upper

near downtown would think of Minneapolis as

Mississippi’s only waterfall beckoned with the sound of

an industrial city. Paved pedestrian and bike paths skirt

opportunity and prosperity. At first, the falls powered

the water’s edge. Cast bronze sculptures of snails, frogs,

sawmills and grist mills, small-scale industries at the scale

and turtles sit perched on the edges of planters. Trees and

of the two fledgling towns. In the late 1860s, the visionary

grass grow lush and green, and it is not uncommon to

flour millers behind the Washburn Crosby Company—the

cross paths with a live rabbit or even a muskrat.

precursor to General Mills—figured out a new process


for milling hard spring wheat into fine flour. The west What a change from a century ago, when the riverfront

side of the Mississippi became crowded with competing

was a tangle of railroad tracks and trestles, flour mills

mills that rose up to meet the worldwide demand for this

and log jams. Anyone breathing heavily outside inhaled

product. An Austrian engineer named William De la Barre

the soot-filled air and the scent of creosote. Flour mills

was put in charge of allocating the waterpower of the falls

hummed on both sides of the river, their stacked floors

to the mills, which were run on hydraulic turbines set in

of milling equipment powered mostly by the flow of the Mississippi, but also by steam engines and boilers that belched black smoke. issue #6

A barge approaches the Lower Saint Anthony Lock in Minneapolis in 1962, above, backdropped by the Stone Arch Bridge and the downtown milling district.


topic: business

from flour dust—have given way to office dwellers with glistening faces and damp t-shirts who try to squeeze thirty minutes of exercise into their lunch breaks.

deep pits under the mills. De la Barre refined the design of a canal that channeled the water through the mills, and later positioned a hydroelectricity plant below the falls to take advantage of the residual power plunging through the mills’ tailraces.


s the Minneapolis riverfront has been remade, its history has been put on display. The Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Trail encircles the site of

the historic cataract and tells the story of its “discovery” by Father Louis Hennepin, its industrialization, and the

As the flour milling industry grew, it pushed the sawmills

development of the surrounding residential and commer-

upriver but welcomed the railroads, which served a vital

cial areas. Mill Ruins Park, designed by landscape

purpose. By the turn of the twentieth century, any land

architects and engineers at URS Corp, contains building

that was not used for a mill site was occupied by railroad

foundations, tailraces, and other vestiges of several mills

tracks. The rail lines and trestles of competing railroads jostled for position. The Union and Burlington Northern stations and their rail yards covered acres of riverfront.

A window into Minneapolis’ ongoing industrial legacy sits just upstream from downtown. The barge terminal at the NSP Riverside Plant, above, was the first to be constructed in the Upper Harbor area. Across the river is the Upper Harbor Terminal, opposite, a municipal facility with domes, elevators, and open storage areas for the handling and transfer of bulk commodities.

The vicinity of Saint Anthony Falls became so crowded with entrepreneurial activity that even Nicollet Island,

that brushed up against the edge of the river. A plank

with its finely detailed wood-frame houses, was bisected

road indicates the location of the former west side canal,

by railroad tracks and built out with commercial build-

which supplied water power to the most productive mills

ings and warehouses.

in the city. The Mill City Museum—an entire building devoted to telling the early history of Minneapolis and the

The twentieth century saw the gradual decline of the

industry that made it the flour capital of the world—rises

Minneapolis flour milling industry. General Mills shut

from within the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill. Steps on

down its final riverfront mill in 1965 and the Pillsbury

the plaza adjacent to the new riverfront Guthrie Theater

“A” Mill, on the Saint Anthony side of the river, termi-

interpret the geological history of Saint Anthony Falls, and

nated its local operations shortly thereafter. After lying

bollards at the top of the steps present the area’s industrial

stagnant for decades, the riverfront recently has been

history in text and historic images.

reinvigorated. The remaining mill buildings have been rehabilitated as loft condominiums or offices and the

The railroad history of the area is covered as well. The site

railroad tracks replaced with scenic parkways and paths.

of the Great Northern Depot and rail yard on the north side

Mill workers—their clothes, hair, and faces dusted white

of Hennepin Avenue is now occupied by the new Federal


SCAPE fall 06

Reserve Bank (completed in 1997) and its accompanying

a single blast of the horn—BLEET—as the barge skidded

brick and stone plazas, designed by David A. Amalong,

toward the lower lock. The woman backed off the curb,

ASLA, of HOK in St. Louis. Next to a walkway leading to

turned, and grinned at her companion.

the riverfront plaza is a series of cast bronze scale models, also designed by Amalong, that show the evolution of the

The barge came from a site about four miles upstream,

site over the past two centuries. The river—the common

the location of Minneapolis’ only remaining riverfront

feature on all of the models—is deeply cast, allowing it

industrial district. The Upper Harbor, as it is known, is

to fill with rainwater. In front of the milling district, the

intrinsically tied to the present appearance of the falls.

Stone Arch Bridge, an engineering wonder and a spectac-

As the Upper Harbor began to take shape, between 1950

ular structure built by the Saint Paul railroad baron James

and 1963, the locks and dam that allowed passage over

J. Hill, has been converted to a pedestrian bridge. Now,

Saint Anthony Falls remade the natural cataract into an

less than forty years after trains last rumbled over this

engineered structure. The imprint of the Upper Harbor

graceful, arching span, people can cross in the same path.

development is visible today, not only in the massive concrete locks, but also in the bridge alterations that were made to allow passage of the barges and



neath. Two spans of the Stone Arch Bridge were replaced with an inverted steel truss, while upriver two



bridges and the Lowry Avenue Bridge received pier reinforcements and deck



increase clearance underneath. The






develop harbor

These various layers of history are conveyed in myriad

began shortly after the city was founded, when riverboat

ways and a wide range of scale—interpretive plaques,

transport became a viable force on the Upper Mississippi.

archaeological artifacts, artistic installations, and rehabili-

Civic leaders looked with envy at Saint Paul, the head of

tated, reused buildings. The Minneapolis riverfront is

navigation at the time. Boosters, businessmen, and politi-

possibly the most thoroughly interpreted historic area in

cians campaigned for a navigable waterway all the way

the state. With but one subtle exception, the industry of

to Minneapolis, and their arguments picked up steam

the area is now interpreted, but not experienced.

after the turn of the century, when railroads dominated


regional shipping and were allowed to charge exorbitant ot long ago, on a perfect, late-summer Friday

prices. During the Great Depression, a nine-foot shipping

evening just before dusk, a small throng of

channel was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers

pedestrians clustered along the railing of the

as a work-relief program. The channel, which stretched

Stone Arch Bridge. Below them, a towboat pushed two

the length of the Upper Mississippi from Minneapolis

empty barges out of the upper lock. Children and adults

southward almost to Saint Louis, was achieved through

alike skipped to the other side of the bridge to watch the

the construction of twenty-six locks and dams that formed

barges slip under their feet a second time. A middle-aged

a stair-stepped series of slackwater pools. The Nine-Foot

woman hopped up onto the curb and pressed her waist

Channel extended barge traffic to Minneapolis, but only as

against the railing. One leg thrust behind her for balance

far as the base of the bluffs under the present Washington

and her hand gripping the rail, she waved her opposite

Avenue Bridge. The city constructed a barge terminal

arm vigorously as the tow passed. The captain sounded

there, but it was small, crowded, and inconvenient.

issue #6


topic: business

In 1968, the city of Minneapolis began constructing a municipal barge terminal in the Upper Harbor to replace the Washington Avenue Terminal. The Upper Harbor

Additional pressure by Minnesota congressmen, who

Terminal, as it is known, is the largest and most varied

argued that the full economic potential of the region could

facility of its type in the area. Its forty-one acres are

not be realized without barge shipping in Minneapolis,

used for open commodity storage, transfer of shipping

resulted in authorization of a channel extension above

containers, and enclosed storage of a variety of materials.

Saint Anthony Falls in 1937. Although the project did

Three barge docks are spaced out over the length of the

not get underway until after World War II—and then

site. The terminal contains a grouping of four round eleva-

faltered when the Corps of Engineers questioned whether

tors, four monolithic concrete storage domes, two asphalt

the project was economically viable—the falls were

storage tanks, and a warehouse. A system of conveyors

surmounted with the opening of the Upper Lock in 1963.

zig-zags overhead, from the barge docks to the domes and elevators. Near the entrance to the site, off Washington

This 1965 aerial view of the Minneapolis riverfront shows the proximity of the newly opened Upper Lock to the remaining historic flour mills and the extensive railroad infrastructure.

Avenue, stands a small, copper-topped office building and scale house.


he Upper Harbor itself does not convey the same romanticism as the nineteenth-century flour mills, and the period it represents is much less nostalgic.

There is a natural human tendency to idealize history, and it may be that the interpretive efforts installed along the downtown Minneapolis riverfront promulgate that. The displays and artwork are beautiful—well-crafted, and visually and intellectually compelling. But they are new: a substitute for what was authentically here, and they do not tell the entire story of this continually working river and evolving industrial city. Although remote from the downtown riverfront, the Upper Harbor terminals give purpose to the lock and dam facilities that now occupy Saint Anthony Falls. Although Barge terminals were slow to develop in the area, and the

excluded from the riverfront interpretation, their presence

harbor took shape over a period of about twenty years.

expands the context of Minneapolis industry and the

The 1911 Northern States Power Riverside Plant (now

city’s development. The terminals and the barge traffic

owned by Xcel Energy) was the first industry to construct

they attract remain, for now, evidence of our region’s

a harbor facility shortly after the locks were opened in

varied economy, as they ship in coal, aggregate, fertilizer,

1963. Its barge terminal ceased operation in the mid-1980s,

and salt. Some people might consider the lock structures

but the coal pile at the northern end of the site—now fed

to have “ruined” Saint Anthony Falls, and few would find

by rail, as it was when the plant was first built—stands as

beauty in the rusted steel of barges, docks, and conveyors.

a rough indication of the number of barges that passed

The history represented by this site, however, is as impor-

through the locks on their way to the plant.

tant to understanding the landscape of the riverfront as the flour mills, railroads, and falls.

scattered on both sides of the river for about two miles.

The sites associated with the Upper Harbor have the

Most are still in use. Several of the terminals were built

benefit of use; as long as shipping is allowed to continue

to unload aggregate, and their linear docks stand at the

to the area, we will have a richer understanding of the

water’s edge, flanked by snaking conveyors and mounds

growth of Minneapolis.

of gravel and sand. American Iron and Supply Company, an industry located in the area before the Upper Harbor was opened, has two linear docks and moveable cranes that handle giant clumps of salvaged steel.


Erin Hanafin Berg is a historian with Hess, Roise and Company historical consultants in Minneapolis.

SCAPE fall 06


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issue #6


Rock Ridge Prairie State Scientific and Natural Area is one of a network of sites at which you can see Minnesota’s ecoregions on display. Read more in topic:nature photo Veronika Phillips, ASLA


4HE-INNESOTA#HAPTEROFTHE !MERICAN3OCIETYOF,ANDSCAPE!RCHITECTS for a calendar of events, chapter newsleďż˝er, board members, award winning projects, membership information, and more, visit the oďŹƒcial website:


SCAPE fall 06

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