St. Paul

Winterhood Placemaking Lab

Project Objective

Our objective was to identify fun and innovative ways to create inclusive and liveable winter places.

Info / Share
  • Date: 2015-2016
  • City: St. Paul, Mn
  • Partners: St. Paul Riverfront Corporation
  • Funding: Knight Foundation

St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, has a population of 297,640 (US Census Bureau) and lies at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Winters are long and cold in St. Paul: average temperatures dip below 30 °F/ -1 °C for five months of the year, and the Twin Cities boast the coldest annual mean temperature among metropolitan areas in the US (45.4 °F/ 7.4 °C).

The cold didn’t stop us from testing out some simple winter placemaking ideas, or “winterventions”. From our Wintermission experience, we’ve learned a few tips worthy of share:

1. Go places where people already go. Bring engagement events to popular corridors and destinations at a busier time, such as lunchtime.

2. Pair-up or piggyback. Team up with another winter event or local partner to make it easier to build awareness.

3. Warm people up. Offer a warm space, free coffee and hot chocolate (and s’mores), so that people will pause and talk to you.

4. Make music. Winter tends to be a quieter time outside, so music will go a long way towards drawing people in.

5. Move it. Attract people by providing an activity that gets them moving.

6. Use bright and visually engaging materials. Catch people’s attention with bright, large-format engagement materials that they can interact with, even while wearing gloves.

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