Cdes header

College of Design

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

UMore Park - The U's Next Big Project


The University of Minnesota Outreach, Research, and Education (UMore) Park has been a popular topic in several of my housing studies courses so far, and for a very big reason. "UMore Park": is a 5,000-acre piece of land owned by the University, located a little over 20 miles southwest of the Twin Cities bordering the city of Rosemount. The site is mostly undeveloped, except for a few war-time industrial remnants and some university research buildings on the property. It has been used in the past by the University as an agricultural and environmental research site, as well as an aeronautics laboratory. There's an old, very large spherical tank that was used to store anhydrous ammonia during the years of industry at UMore, which was later used by the University as a part of a supersonic wind tunnel facility. Fun fact.

In recent years, the "Board of Regents": (the University's governing body) approved the creation of the UMore Park Development Limited Liability Company (LLC) to manage the development of UMore Park into a revolutionary sustainable community, which upon completion will be home to between 20,000 and 30,000 residents in the next two or three decades. This massive and visionary project is unlike anything our state, and even our nation, has ever seen!

Before I continue with the details, I will put into perspective just how big the UMore Park site is. The total surface area of UMore Park is around 5,000 acres, which is the equivalent to more than 31,000 football fields, about 7.8 square miles - more than double the size of my hometown. So basically, UMore Park is HUGE!

The goal of the UMore Park development project is to create a landmark, University-founded community intricately planned to empower people of all ages and lifestyles through our academic mission of education, health, and sustainability.

A "concept master plan": for the development has been formed in the past few years which outline the framework of UMore Park's mission, largely revolving around eight primary goals. The southern border of UMore Park, known as the "Vermillion Highlands":, is a 2,800-acre undeveloped site which is to be preserved and maintained both for recreational use by UMore residents and to serve as a natural habitat for wildlife.

Divided into "eight separate districts":, UMore Park's land uses will vary geographically, breaking the mold of a typical suburban community in attempt to create a dynamic and empowering atmosphere.

The vision of UMore Park has come a long way since the initial planning and geological assessments just a few years ago, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I feel so honored to be involved in "housing studies": program during such an exciting time in Umore Park's development stages. You should check out the "UMore Park website":, there is so much to learn about this incredible project, I have barely even scratched the surface.

renderings by Michelle Kaufmann

Development Poster JPG.jpg

The poster image above is an example of one of my course projects focused on UMore Park development proposals. Our class spent the semester learning about multi-family housing development and management, using UMore Park as a case study for our final projects of creating a comprehensive housing development proposal. Some of the officers of UMore Park Development LLC attended the poster presentation event where we unveiled our finished proposals, I was very proud I put in the hard work!

- Jesse