University of Minnesota


University of Minnesota
Resilient Communities Project
Case Type
University Program
School Size
Greater than 40,000
Focus Areas
Democratic Governance, Economic and Social Inclusion, Environment Sustainability
Architecture, Design, Economic Development, Election Administration, Geography, GIS, Planning, Public Administration, Public Policy, Resilience, Social Work, Sustainability

Resilient Communities Project

Website |

The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is an award-winningcross-disciplinary program at the University of Minnesota that supports one-year partnerships between the University and communities in Minnesota to advance local sustainability and resilience. Our mission is to connect communities with the students and faculty at a world-class teaching and research institution to

  • Build local capacity around sustainability and resilience issues,
  • Train students to be future sustainability practitioners, and
  • Produce case studies, best practices, and tools that can inform sustainability practice throughout the state.

Each academic year, RCP selects a single partner community (typically a city) through a competitive request-for-proposals process. Working with professional staff and stakeholders in the selected community, RCP helps to identify 10-25 projects that will advance local sustainability and resilience based on community-identified environmental, social, and economic issues and needs. RCP strategically connects each project with one or more courses at the University of Minnesota that can provide research or technical assistance to move the project forward.

Graduate, professional, and advanced undergraduate students participate in RCP by enrolling in an RCP-affiliated course, or through connecting an individual thesis, capstone, field experience, or directed study to an RCP project. Staff and relevant stakeholders from the community work closely with U of MN faculty and students to provide local knowledge and deeper insight into the issues, ensuring projects are not only innovative, but also relevant to the community context.

Outcomes from each University course are documented in a final report and presentation at the conclusion of the semester. Project results are shared with the community, and disseminated through the RCP website for use by other communities.

RCP is a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, and is a co-founding member of the national Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network.

Fun Facts about RCP

In a typical year, RCP matches 25 projects with 50 courses across 20 or more academic departments (including: architecture, planning, engineering, business, environmental sciences, and the humanities) providing applied research opportunities to 300–500 graduate, professional, and upper-division undergraduate students.

“The Resilient Communities Project is a model for promoting greater collaboration and engagement across disciplines by connecting the wide-ranging expertise of the U of M faculty and graduate students with cities, business, and organizations in Minnesota. This innovative approach not only provides sustainability solutions for our partner communities, but also enhances our curriculum with interdisciplinary methods that are helping our students to develop the knowledge, skills, and agility that they will need as tomorrow’s innovators, lifelong learners, and global citizens.”—Karen Hanson, Provost, University of Minnesota

Year Program Established | 2012
Country | US
Federal Region of Program | 5

Public or Private Institution | Public
Number of students at institution | 50,000

Highlight Articles/Videos

Awesomely Urban by Meleah Maynard
Grand challenge: build resilient communities by Monique Dubos
U offering cities a new partnership to solve problems byKelly Smith  

City Partners

2012 | Minnetonka • Population: 51,000
2013 | North St. Paul • Population: 11,000
2014 | Rosemount • Population: 22,000
2015 | Carver County • Population: 95,000
2016 | Brooklyn Park • Population: 78,000
2017 | Ramsey • Population: 25,000
2018 | Scott County • Population: 142,000
2018 | Ramsey County • Population: 540,000

Contact Info

Mike Greco
Program Director
(612) 625-7501

Sarah Tschida
Program Coordinator
(612) 625-6550