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Design For Health

Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop, 2010

Focused on the proposed redevelopment of the TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant) site in Arden Hills, Minnesota, the Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop followed a Rapid Assessment approach. The purpose of the workshop was to examine potential impacts associated with redeveloping the site and explore options for advancing human health.

The original TCAAP site is located on approximately 2,370 acres (3.7 square miles) in the City of Arden Hills, approximately 10 miles northeast of Minneapolis in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Formerly private farmland, the TCAAP project was built in 1941 to manufacture and test munitions for the United States Armed Forces during World War II. At its peak, TCAAP employed over 25,000 individuals. Much of the facility was decommissioned during the 1970s and 1980s but private defense corporations utilized some of the buildings through the early 2000s. More than half of the site is currently leased by the Minnesota Army National Guard for a training facility and a small portion is used for other local and state facilities. The remaining 585 acres (about 25% of the site) is set to be auctioned by the U.S. Army  n summer 2010.

In anticipation of future private development on the site, the City of Arden Hills has engaged in ongoing planning activities for the site. Workshop participants evaluated leaving the site as it is versus redeveloping for housing, employment, and open space.

Participants received a background report outlining the proposals and key health issues. The report is reproduced in the appendices below. The bulk of the workshop involved small and large group discussions and facilitator-led tasks, which helped identify and prioritize potential positive and negative health impacts, as well as identify potential changes to the composite plan redevelopment alternative to maximize positive health effects and minimize negative ones. An additional kick-off graffiti wall exercise allowed participants to explore their own definitions of what constitutes good health.

In the first exercise, participants were asked to vote on a number of statements about potential health effects in a number of categories such as access, air pollution, food, and safety. In the second exercise, participants collaborated in small groups to identify and prioritize potential positive and negative impacts of the composite plan redevelopment proposal. Participants were then asked to identify and prioritize approaches to mitigate potential negative impacts and maximize potential positive impacts associated with the proposed composite plan. The highest priority changes to the proposal, listed by number of votes, include the following:

  • 19—Ensuring a mix of housing types/ prices to allow residents of broad socio-economic backgrounds to be able to afford to live in Arden Hills and particularly, the TCAAP site.
  • 18—Providing adequate and attractive trails within the site and connecting to other regional systems.
  • 16—Increasing the transit accessibility, frequency, and attractiveness for the site, possibly even a hub of sorts.
  • 16—Using green building techniques for housing, buildings.
  • 15—Constructing “Complete Streets” for all users and modes, primarily for roadways within the site.

Participants then identified next steps, many of which could be done before the redevelopment of TCAAP started while others could be incorporated into the rezoning, under way.

Summary Report: Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop Summary Report (325 KB)

Background Appendices: Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop Appendices (6.87 MB)

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