Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is a multifaceted approach of working for a common good which often results in activities which have a public/civic purpose. Macalester is committed to teaching the skills of citizenship in preparing students to be global citizens in a complex world. Below is a list of civic engagement projects that the Geography Department has participated in. For additional information on the Macalester Community civic engagement efforts, we encourage you to visit the Civic Engagement Center website.

Date Project Title and Description

Mapping the Western Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
Faculty: Holly Barcus and Ashley Nepp
Course:  GEOG 364: GIS and Community Partnerships
Description:  This partnership is the third in a series of partnerships with The Freshwater Society and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.  Students working on this project during the Fall 2014 semester mapped the western region of the watershed focusing on environmental, social, and community attributes contributing to water quality and practices in this region. 

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed:  Mapping the Master Water Stewards Program
Faculty: Laura Smith and Ashley Nepp
Course: GEOG 365: Urban GIS

Faculty:  Laura Smith and Ashley Nepp
Course:  Geog 365: Urban GIS
Description:  A Spring 2013 collaboration with the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership to develop and report on a range of economic and social indicators for the Mississippi Riverfront in the City of Minneapolis.

Mapping Social Influence - Understanding the Impact of the Water Stewards Program
Faculty:  Dan Trudeau
Course:  Geog 377: Qualitative Research Methods
Description:  A Fall 2013 collaboration with the Freshwater Society and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to conduct a baseline study of people's knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning their yard care in a Minneapolis neighborhood surrounding the Minnehaha Creek Watershed.
2012 Examining Local Housing Markets: Five Twin Cities Neighborhood Profiles
Part 1: Executive Summary, Introduction, and Methodology
Part 2: Powderhorn Park
Part 3: Longfellow
Part 4: Greater Frogtown
Part 5: Dayton's Bluff
Part 6: Richfield
Part 7: Conclusion, Bibliography, and Appendix
Faculty: Laura Smith
Courses: GEOG 365: Urban GIS
2011 St. Paul's University Avenue: Before the Central Corridor
Faculty: Laura Smith and Dan Trudeau
Courses: GEOG 488: Transportation Geography and GEOG 341: Urban Social Geography
Description:  The year 2011 reflected a unique time in the Twin Cities' transportation history as construction began on the Central Corridor light rail line along University Avenue. Students in the Transportation Geography senior seminar and the Urban Social Geography course produced a baseline atlas of the Avenue as it stood as an automobile-oriented corridor, before its transition to a transit-based corridor. The focus of the atlas is to address the question: What will the transition from an automobile-focused to a transit-based system mean for the urban economic geography and social diversity of the Avenue?
2010 Mapping Indian Land Tenure in Minnesota
Faculty: Holly Barcus and Laura Smith
Course: GEOG 364 GIS: Concepts and Applications and 365 Urban GIS
Description:  During the fall of 2010, students in the advanced GIS classes partnered with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) to examine issues of American Indian land tenure in Minnesota using GIS techniques. This mapping project was undertaken to help further ILTF's vision of collecting information on Indian land tenure on a local, regional, and national basis and making it publically available in a way that is consistent with the protocols and priorities of Indian nations. The students gathered information from a variety of sources, including tribal and local government offices, with the aim of documenting land tenure status within Minnesota's Indian reservations and analyzing relationships between land tenure status and other social and economic variables

On going

Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education
Faculty: David Lanegran
This program provides support for teachers and students in Minnesota’s public schools promoting geographic knowledge through workshops and conferences and classroom experiences. Recently, several new ventures began, focusing on conservation of the environment and stewardship of natural resources.
2009 Changing Conditions and Neighborhood Stabilization in North Minneapolis Neighborhoods
Part I:  Neighborhood Characteristics
Part II:  Housing Trends
Part III:  Foreclosure Trends and Conclusion
Faculty: Laura Smith
Course: GEOG 365 Urban GIS

The Ordway Digital Database
[Final Report]
Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG364 GIS: Concepts and Applications (Fall 2009)
Description: A digital database developed for the Katherine Ordway Natural History Study Area in collaboration with the Macalester Environmental Sciences department.
2008 Saint Paul Recreation Centers
[Final Report] [Presentation] [Maps (color)] [Maps (b/w)]
Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG 364 GIS: Concepts and Applications (Fall 2008)
Description: A Fall 2008 collaboration between St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Saint Paul Public Schools, to spatially analyze the distribution and accessibility of student-centered programs and services.

Little Earth Oral History Project
Faculty: Dan Trudeau
Course: GEOG 341 Urban Social Geography
Description: Oral history interviews of long-time Native American residents of the Little Earth of United Tribes housing project in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Examining Spatial Mismatch in the Twin Cities Metro

Part I: Extent of Mismatch
Part II: Extent of Mismatch continued
Part III: Transportation Effects
Faculty: Laura Smith
Course: GEOG 365 Advanced Cartography & Urban GIS

The Crow River Watershed: An Annotated Atlas
Part 1
Part 2

Faculty: David Lanegran, Daniel Trudeau, Holly Barcus, Birgit Muehlenhaus
Course(s): GEOG 488 Urban Geography Field Seminar, GEOG 488 Cities of the 21st Century, and GEOG 364 GIS: Concepts and Applications
2007 Saint Paul - After School Programs
Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG364: GIS: Concepts and Applications (Spring Semester)
Description: Identifying the gaps in after-school program provision, partnership with the City of St Paul Mayor's office and St. Paul Public Schools
2006 North Minneapolis: Examining Neighborhood Trends with GIS
Introduction and Part I: Mortgage Foreclosures in North Minneapolis
Part II: Gentrification in North Minneapolis
Part III: Affordable Housing and the Hollman Consent Decree
Part IV: An Asset Based Approach to North Minneapolis
Faculty: Laura Smith
Course: GEOG 365 Advanced Cartography & Urban GIS

Bikeways Project

Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG364: GIS: Concepts and Applications (Spring)
Description: A Spring 2006 partnership with MnDOT, Met Council, and Land Management Information Center (LMIC) to produce a Bikeways Data Collection Manual for local communities.

Lake Street Project
Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG364: GIS: Concepts and Applications (Fall)
Description: A Fall 2006 Collaborative Project between Macalester College (multiple classes) and the Minnesota Historical Society to map historical change on Lake Street. The project was displayed at MHS during Fall 2007.

The Urbanization of the St. Croix River Basin: An Annotated Atlas
Part 1
Part 2
Faculty:  David A. Lanegran
Course:  GEOG 488: Urban Geography Field Seminar
2005 PCEC Project
Faculty: Holly Barcus
Course: GEOG364: GIS: Concepts and Applications (Fall)
Description: A Fall 2005 partnership with the Phillips Community Energy Cooperative (PCEC) to pinpoint the location of target populations in the city of Minneapolis who were eligible to receive free, energy-efficient refrigerators and air-conditioning units as part of PCEC program funded through Xcel Energy.
2004 Foreclosures in the Twin Cities: Analysis of Spatial Trends
Faculty: Laura Smith
Course: GEOG 365 Advanced Cartography & Urban GIS

2003 St. Anthony Park: A Community Built on a Solid Foundation
Faculty: David Lanegran
Course: GEOG 488 Urban Geography Field Seminar

2002 Living Off Campus: Macalester Students in the Neighborhood
Chapter 1-Part 1
Chapter 1-Part 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Faculty: Laura Smith and David Lanegran
Course(s): GEOG 365 Urban GIS and GEOG 488 Urban Geography Field Seminar
1998 Pride and Place: The Strength and Potential of Payne-Arcade
Faculty: David Lanegran
Course: GEOG 488 Urban Geography Field Seminar