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The City, the River, the Bridge

Before and after the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

2010

Patrick Nunnally, editor
Preface by E. Thomas Sullivan

The City, the River, the Bridge

Exploring the university’s role in understanding how disasters impact communities

Stemming from a 2008 University of Minnesota symposium on the I-35W bridge collapse, The City, the River, the Bridge addresses the ramifications of the disaster from the perspectives of history, engineering, architecture, water science, community-based journalism, and geography. Contributors demonstrate the university’s commitment to issues that concern the community and share insights on questions of city building, infrastructure, and design policy.

The book offers a prismatic, retrospective view on the bridge: the factors leading to its collapse, lessons learned from the disaster, the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, and the policy and planning changes that have happened or are still likely to occur.

Architecture Minnesota

On August 1, 2007, just after 6:00 p.m., during the evening rush hour in Minneapolis, the 1,900-foot-long, eight-lane I-35W bridge buckled and crashed into the Mississippi River. The unimaginable had happened right on the doorstep of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Many of the first responders were from the university, persevering in the midst of chaos and disbelief. In the ensuing weeks, research and engineering teams from the university reviewed the wreckage, searched for causes, and began planning for the future.

The City, the River, the Bridge represents another set of responses to the disaster. Stemming from a 2008 University of Minnesota symposium on the bridge collapse and the building of a new bridge, it addresses the ramifications of the disaster from the perspectives of history, engineering, architecture, water science, community-based journalism, and geography. Contributors examine the factors that led to the collapse, the lessons learned from the disaster and the response, the policy and planning changes that have occurred or are likely to occur, and the impact on the city and the Mississippi River.

The City, the River, the Bridge demonstrates the university’s commitment to issues that concern the community and shares insights on public questions of city building, infrastructure, and design policy.

Contributors: John O. Anfinson; Roberto Ballarini; Heather Dorsey; Thomas Fisher; Minmao Liao; Judith A. Martin; Roger Miller; Mark Pedelty; Deborah L. Swackhamer; Melissa Thompson.

The City, the River, the Bridge

Patrick Nunnally is coordinator of the River Life program, part of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. He regularly works with diverse groups to integrate resource protection and place-based interpretation into ongoing local and regional planning frameworks. He also serves on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, teaching classes in landscape planning and urban studies.

E. Thomas Sullivan is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and Julius E. Davis Chair in Law, at the University of Minnesota.

The City, the River, the Bridge

The book offers a prismatic, retrospective view on the bridge: the factors leading to its collapse, lessons learned from the disaster, the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, and the policy and planning changes that have happened or are still likely to occur.

Architecture Minnesota

This book is a valuable contribution to urban studies if for no other reason than its true
interdisciplinarity. This is not a book that summarises the bridge collapse as a unitary event, but displays the numerous ways that scholars of the urban can relate to a singular incident and draw broader conclusions from it for the future.

Urban Studies Journal

The City, the River, the Bridge

Contents

Preface: This Dynamic Culture of Learning
E. Thomas Sullivan

Introduction: University Voices in the Community
Patrick Nunnally

Part I. The Bridge: Object, Metaphor, Process

1. Fracture-Critical: The I-35W Bridge Collapse as Metaphor and Omen
Thomas Fisher

2. The Infamous Gusset Plates
Roberto Ballarini and Minmao Liao

3. Building the New Bridge: Process and Politics in City-Building
Patrick Nunnally

Part II. The City: Neighborhoods and Transportation

4. Neighborhoods Confront a Disaster Aftermath
Judith A. Martin

5. From Here to There to Nowhere: Competing Philosophies of Planning
Roger Miller

Part III. The River: After the Collapse

6. A Fickle Partner: Minneapolis and the Mississippi River
John O. Anfinson

7. A Bridge to Somewhere
Mark Pedelty, Heather Dorsey, and Melissa Thompson

8. Old Man River
Deborah L. Swackhamer

Conclusion: Reimagining the Mississippi
Patrick Nunnally

Acknowledgments
Contributors
Index

The City, the River, the Bridge

UMP blog: Three years after the I-35W bridge collapse, and still three questions not (yet) answered.

7/28/2010
Three years ago this Sunday, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 and seriously injuring more than 100. After 13 hectic months, a new bridge was opened on the alignment of the older one, a new bridge that is bigger, safer, and has direct connections to the university’s Civil Engineering Department for purposes of research and monitoring.