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PlaceMakers Prototypes

Of the 23 submitted prototyping proposals – submitted during an open call for proposals in May and June – 16 were chosen to participate in this year’s prototyping festival, which will be held September 15 – 17, 2016. PlaceMakers received nearly twice the number of applicants originally anticipated.

Artscaping the Bikeway

Project Description: A bikeway with an art decorated 5 foot one way bike lane and a 3 foot buffer to separate the roadway will be installed. Nice Ride bikes will be on hand to allow all users to experience the protected bikeway. Informational signs will be posted to explain the project and how it could be relevant to other areas of the community.

Uniqueness: Artscaping the Bikeway will be the first ever protected bikeway in Rochester and demonstrated in Southeastern Minnesota. While the engineering design will be similar to other examples, the artscaping will make this unique.

Creative Crosswalks

Team Name: RNeighbors
Members: RNeighbors Board members and Executive Director, working with the 45 different registered Neighborhood Associations in Rochester
About the Team: RNeighbors' vision sums it all up. We work toward a future in Rochester when community life is rooted in neighborhood networks that nurture citizen involvement for positive community change. That’s a fancy way of saying, “Hey. We want to get people out of their houses and actively involved in their living spaces!”

Twitter: RochNeighbors

Project Description: Creative Crosswalks is intending to pilot a “Creative Crosswalk” across 1st Avenue to help bring art to a barren space and emphasize safe crosswalk space for one of the most heavily used pedestrian areas in downtown Rochester. An artist will develop a design that fits within the historic downtown area and neighbors from the 45 neighborhood associations in Rochester will be invited to help fill in the outlined crosswalk.

Uniqueness: While Rochester has been working to create a more walkable community, adding art and creativity to the streetscape has yet to be tried. This project is unique because it will offer the opportunity for residents across Rochester to be involved and has the ability to spur additional creative crosswalks across the city.

Sit next to me, Sue!

Project Description: Sit next to me, Sue explores the potential of public seating to become a more active and adaptable element of our ever-changing urban landscapes. Wheeled stools strung along a line promote both privacy and comradery by providing a variety of seating arrangements for the individual, couple or small group. Lighting is installed on each seat to encourage evening and nighttime use.

Uniqueness: This installation engages all ages through playful activity, creative space making, and an opportunity to build relationships within the community. The shifting nature of the installation is experienced differently every time an individual engages it, which promotes repeated visits.

Rocker Talker (People’s Choice Winner)

Project Description: Rocker Talker is an installation to get people to stop, sit back and relax. Unlike a traditional rocking chair, this installation allows large groups to rock on the same platform. Whether a group of friends, family members or complete strangers, Rocker Talker is sure to be a conversation starter in Rochester.

Uniqueness: Rocking chairs are culturally significant and each one of us has memories or associations tied to them, however we’ve never seen one reimagined and scaled up to engage more than one or two people. This piece will be utilized and a conversation starter for the community.

Kids on the Block

Project Description: Kids on the Block is a prototype of an urban park based on the themes of food, art and play which spotlights nature as a dominant feature of what makes a livable city. Transportable planters will be painted and decorated by children and used to grow food. Repurposed museum exhibit pieces will encourage children to build their own play area. Programing reflecting on Rochester’s diversity will also play a role in this prototype.

Uniqueness: The role of Kids on the Block is to facilitate, and through this process to teach healthy living habits, including healthy eating, preserving nature, staying active and being community participates. This project engages children not just to participate but to lead their community in changing and creating their environment and city.

Multilingual Pedestrian Signage

Team Name: Storytellers
Members: Edgar Mtanous, Hitan Kamdar, Matthew Ennis, Ian Mwangi, Bassem Fadlia, Ruth Bello, Wayne Flock, Alicia Stulen, James Keller, Amina Bilic
About the Team: Storytellers is a group of Rochester community members striving to demonstratively address the existing need for wayfinding between the DMC sub-districts while enhancing inclusively by introducing Multilingual Pedestrian Signage to the DMC corridor Our project’s mission is to advocate for a collaborative, healthy and vibrant community by forming stronger cultural and infrastructure links between Rochester, its citizens and visitors. We believe Multilingual Pedestrian Signage between the DMC corridors will afford Rochester the opportunity to highlight its inherent diversity while providing a tangible wayfinding tool that promotes health via walkability.

Project Description: Multilingual Pedestrian Signage will serve as a wayfinding measure that stimulates connectivity between the DMC sub-districts while perceptibly promoting diversity and inclusion. The signage will increase walkability by serving as a sustainable marker featuring distance data and navigation points between the sub-districts. Target language will be specific to each sub-district.

Uniqueness: The projects mission is to advocate for a collaborative, healthy and vibrant world by establishing stronger links between Rochester, its citizens and visitors. Most affluent cities with millions of inhabitants and visitors fail to leverage the existing opportunity that multilingual signage provides.

Inner Ear ECHO

Team Name: The EchoMakers
Members: Dee Sabol, Mary Ellen Landwehr, Kim Sin, Rahul Kashyap, Lee Koch, Adam Hook, Andy Sabol, Ginny Stanley, Max Clifton.
About the Team: Our concept, our name, and our team developed directly out of the first two PlaceMaker Events! We are a team of diverse members in every sense: age, gender, race/ethnicity, language, industry, and location – with one member traveling from the Twin Cities to participate. We all recognize the importance of connectivity and diversity. #InnerEarEcho #diversity_council.


Project Description: Inner Ear ECHO is a functional piece of public installation art that will draw individuals into new relationships with others, creating curiosity and wonder as it receives voices, translates works and amplifies our common humanity. A person speaks one of several predefined words and phrases into the “ear” and listens as they are translated into other languages common to Rochester and the region.

Uniqueness: In moments of silence, our hearts all sound the same. Inner Ear ECHO is unique because it reminds us of our commonality. It allows us to hear one another – and to understand.

Bike Corral

Project Description: Instead of hiding bike parking off the street, bike corral promotes cycling by making bike commuting a reclamation statement. The corral is an attractive bike parking, that shows just how many bikes can fit into one or two parking spaces.

Uniqueness: While maybe not unique to the world, bike corrals will be very unique to Rochester.

Chime In

Team Name: Kimley-Horn Landscape Architecture
Members: Jenny Krantz, Chuck Stewart, Katie Leise, Mitch Workmon, Katie Hamerlinck, Andrea Arnoldi, Todd Halunen, Jake Oswald, Brett Mozzetti, Mike Lamb, Mary Norton, Tom Harrington, Geoff Martin
About the Team: Our collective of landscape architects work closely together underneath the Kimley-Horn umbrella. We approach our projects holistically and with a purpose and work every day to engage people with their surroundings. Fun fact about our team is we have more than doubled in size in two years. We also love good books, movies, and long walks on the beach.

Instagram: @KimleyHorn

Project Description: This series of pipes or ‘chimes’ will play different notes when hit. The chimes will each be painted a different color – making the color of the rainbow. The chimes will be places far enough apart, where it takes more than one person to play a song. This will encourage collaboration and interaction.

Uniqueness: “Chime In” is great as a static piece of art, but it really comes to life when people engage it, playing with sound and creating music. The installation engages people emotionally, physically, socially and mentally. It also has the opportunity to engage with a crowd because music is being created.

The Town Cube

Members: Nicole & Seth Nfonoyim-Hara
About the Team: Seth is a biomedical engineer from Ohio and Nicole is a fiction writer and anthropologist from New York City. This is they first project of this kind, and they're excited to be part of fostering continued dialogued around diversity, inclusion, and social justice in our community. Fun fact: Between the two, they've got Japanese, West Virginian, Cameroonian, Afro-Costa Rican, and Gujarati heritage.

Instagram: @towncuberochmn

Project Description: The Town Cube will use a set of small boxes to project onto. Together the projections (pixels) will show statistics, facts, questions directed at community members, or slogans meant to inspire civic pride and commitment to social justice and inclusion in our community. The boxes will rotate so these projections will be continually changing.

Uniqueness: The Town Cube is unique as it addresses diversity, inclusion, and social justice by inviting community members to lend their voice to the conversation. It is meant to express more critical messages about who we are as a city and community still building and coming together.

Destination Inner Peace

Project Description: Destination Inner Peace will integrate elements of the natural and built environment to facilitate access to space to connect with oneself and practice healthy coping mechanisms to reduce stress and improve mental health. Destination Inner Peace will create a calming space with a labyrinth, sand tracing area, water feature and expression wall.

Uniqueness: While the concepts outlined are not in themselves unique, integrating these elements together in a centrally located, public space is unique. The Expression Wall is unique and is modeled after the First Amendment Wall in Charlottesville, VA.

The Artery

Members: Eric Anderson, Rose Anderson, Diane Klein, Matthew Moore, Anthony Huber, Nel Pilgrim-Rukavina, Grace Wengler
About the Team: From art to start-ups, behavioral economics to medical device design, our team is brought together by the study and practice of critical thinking: questioning possibilities, normativity, asking for the indefinite, a note of revolt, or at least a largeness of hope

Project Description: Affixed beneath one of Rochester’s skyways, the Artery will reflect the changing health of the city as the installation’s colors transition to signify health events happing within the walls of the city’s health care institutions. A childbirth. A successful heart transplant. A final radiation treatment. At Place Makers, rails of light will blur the lines between art and collective experience.

Uniqueness: Unlike any existing structure in the cityscape, this installation will ask if a city’s architecture, coupled with new artist vision, can offer innovative ways to deliver health. The Artery will be an intersection for the static nature of information and the seemingly impossible but necessary tasks of art: to be arresting, rare, difficult, and alive

Living Wall

Project Description: Living Wall is to create a mock up green wall that will function as a tool to help people visualize some of the problems and unique solutions that face urban design today. It also is typically linked very closely to storm water management. The intention of the project is to kick-start new ideas for storm water and energy management for downtown Rochester.

Uniqueness: The wall will provide an experience that is not common to Rochester or even in many places in the Midwest Region. It is intended to give people a new idea of what an urban environment can feel like when you add a little more green to the streetscape.

Info Alley

Project Description: Info Alley will use the overhang next to the 3rd Street Ramp to share 4-live feeds which includes a variety of information from event listings, aggregated video, and interactive social media feeds. These feeds will be projected on the concrete overhang. It will provide the public information on what is happening in the Rochester community.

Uniqueness: Mobile devices and computer can be a great resource for information and events. However, often they isolate us into our own world. This display aims to have the opposite effect. This is where the people gather to learn what is happening and connect with others in that exploration.

Recharging Stormwater

Project Description: Recharging Stormwater will showcase a simple, yet effective way to recharge stormwater using readily available materials (rocks, sand, greenery, fabric, and a fish tank). It will engage Middle School Earth Science students in teaching about water treatments and also prototyping.

Uniqueness: This project’s uniqueness lies within its simplicity. The prototype will almost certainly be one of the easiest to setup, tear down and explain.


Project Description: SWAMP brings technology to storm water management to optimize reuse and visualize the health of the system. The storm water will be used to irrigate plants and also to demonstrate a contamination removal system. Technology will be used during a variety of steps of this process and project focus. Education about storm water management will be highlighted.

Uniqueness: Being able to understand the physical world and structures we all live in and use is important. Technology can provide the insight needed to build better structures to be better stewards of our natural environment. This project seeks to show how that is possible.

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