Reimagining the Civic Commons


Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minn.


2020 - present


Despite a history of progressive politics, leadership, and wealth Minneapolis and Saint Paul have some of the worst racial disparities in the nation. The cities have been, and continue to be, difficult places for people of color to live. To counter the trends of increasing economic segregation, social isolation and distrust, a collaboration of national foundations and local civic leaders are reimagining civic assets as a solution.

The Center for Transformative Urban Design, Environmental Initiative, and our partner organizations are:

  • Identifying community spaces and places to invest in, reimagine, or operate differently.
  • Building the right coalition of partners from communities, nonprofits, business, and government to collaborate.
  • Raising funds to convene the Twin Cities partnership and demonstration projects.

In 2016, Reimagining the Civic Commons launched as a national initiative in five demonstration cities, advancing ambitious social, economic and environmental goals through revitalized and connected public spaces. Five more communities, including Minneapolis, have been added since.

Five kids of varying races and genders standing on a bridge over a wetland on a summer day.

What is Reimagining the Civic Commons?

Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national effort to create great public places that are shared by everyone, a neutral ground where common purpose is nurtured. National foundations and local partners are working together to foster civic engagement, socioeconomic mixing, environmental sustainability, and value creation.

Headshot of Paul Bauknight, a man with dark skin, brown eyes and brown hair. He is wearing glasses and a navy blue suit.

One of the key tenants of Reimagining is that coming together in public space builds trust across differences. Today, it is even more clear how vital it is for us to cultivate community through parks and other public spaces. As Minneapolis transforms, it’s imperative for our mental, physical, and social health that we emphasize racial, economic, and environmental justice.

Paul Bauknight, Center for Transformative Urban Design

Reimagine with us

To learn more about joining Remaining the Civic Commons – Twin Cities or to financially support the work of the partnership, contact Paul Bauknight.

Our partners

Logos to be added

Our experts

Paul Bauknight is founder and Executive Director of the Center for Transformative Urban Design and convenor of Reimagining the Civic Commons Twin Cities. Bill Droessler is Environmental Initiatives’s representative in the Reimagining the Civic Commons Twin Cities partnership. 

Bill Droessler

Bill Droessler

Executive Lead, Partnership Development he/him Office: 612-334-3388 ext. 8105