Lab News

Twin Cities awarded long-term social ecological research site

March 18, 2021

A large grant to the University of Minnesota and other partners will support ongoing research by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs into ‘green gentrification’ and the intersection of urban nature and racial injustice.


Humphrey School Assistant Professor Bonnie Keeler is a co-principal investigator of the new Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area Urban Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, announced this week. The $7.1 million project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch with an initial nine research projects and initiatives.


The University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Water Bar are partners in the LTER, to study how stressors such as climate change, invasive pests, and pollutants affect the ecological structure and functioning of urban nature, including pollinators, the urban forest, urban watersheds, and lakes and streams.


Researchers will also study how urban residents interact with urban nature, and how the benefits and burdens of urban nature are not experienced equally by all residents. Trends in American cities suggest that investments in urban nature may have contributed to the persistent and wide racial wealth gap.


The goal is for researchers to better understand urban nature, as well as the policies and practices that are currently in place, to improve environmental outcomes for all residents.

March 16, 2020 –

Northern Minnesota communities are deeply dependent on water resources for tourism, recreation, and industrial uses. Water and other natural resources in this region are changing because of shifts in climate and land management in ways that may affect the resilience of communities and the resources they depend upon. Funded by Minnesota Sea Grant and supported by the Natural Capital Project, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Center for Changing Landscapes, and Great Lakes Design Lab, this project sought to integrate biophysical, social, and economic data with partnerships including local units of government, regional resource managers, recreation and tourism professionals, and local business owners to meet the needs of key stakeholders.

by Annamarie Rutledge, Blog post


CREATE Scholars at Juxtaposition Arts in North Minneapolis

October 3, 2019 –

When cities decide to improve parks and create more green spaces in underserved neighborhoods, it seems like a good thing. But that often leads to unintended consequences for the residents in those areas, including higher housing costs that may force them to move elsewhere. That phenomenon is known as gentrification.

Think of gentrification as neighborhood change, in which housing market values increase and drive out low-income residents. Green gentrification can lead to the same outcomes when cities invest more in parks, greenways, and the cleanup of brownfields.

A team of researchers from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ CREATE Initiative spent the summer examining the extent of green gentrification in Minneapolis and working to develop tools that can help cities address it.

Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News

September 11, 2019 –

In more than 40 countries roughly 700 million people suffer from water scarcity. As climate change deteriorates our natural landscape, there’s a need for solution-based proposals on how to provide and preserve access to high quality water.

MPR News host Kerri Miller moderated a panel on “How Minnesota can lead in a water-scarce world” at the 2019 Water Summit in downtown Minneapolis where Bonnie Keeler was a panel member.

By Kerri Miller and Jeffrey Bissoy

April 22, 2019 –

Assistant Professor Bonnie Keeler urges more diverse perspectives in addressing climate change and its impacts.

By Bonnie Keeler, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Blog Post

March 25, 2019 –

The research is meant to help lawmakers and state agencies plan and create policy for the future.

By Natalie Rademacher, Minnesota Daily, News Article

Vickie Kettlewell for MPR News

December 3, 2018 –

Stand on the banks of Indian Jack Lake, and you wouldn’t know you’re on the eastern side of the popular Brainerd Lakes Area tourist hub…

By Kirsti Marohn, Minnesota Public Radio, Radio Story Comment