top of page



Engagement-driven planning for the public realm.

CLIENT: Hennepin County

Key Points

The intersection between Hiawatha Avenue and the Lake Street intersection is being redesigned to create safer routes for all modes, and the resulting layout will add open space. SDK was engaged by Hennepin County to facilitate engagement driven planning for the best uses of the new added space. and manage the early stages of the initiative. SDK’s work allowed the public to imagine future uses for the intersection and set the direction and key elements of design.

Hi Lake Redesign Visibility.png
Client Need

In 2024, the Hi-Lake intersection will be reconstructed to create safter travel for all modes. The intersection falls under the jurisdiction of four agencies and the project will create almost 2,000 sq ft of added space under the bridge. Following the unrest of 2020, Hennepin County and partners wanted to ensure community priorities shaped future uses of the new added open space. Creating a design that reflected public input and prepared residents and customers for the future design changes was recognized as essential to the project's success. 

Screenshot 2024-05-22 at 4.13.32 PM.png
SDK Contributions

Early engagement included identifying potential partners who could manage the space in ways that matched the public's aspirations. A community partner would help to manage the space beyond transportation uses. Through conducting outreach and due diligence of mutual benefits, SDK facilitated initial negotiations that would ensure the sustainably and maintenance of the space. 

SDK also organized and facilitated meetings across a Project Advisory Committee that represented the diverse perspectives that surrounded HI-Lake. The committee provided input on planned engagement methods, analysis of community feedback, and design approaches. 
SDK’s engagement driven planning took place in two phases. First, SDK took time to understand community priorities. Our team designed a multifaced engagement to reach people during the pandemic including SDK surveys (paper and online), a phone comment line, tabling events, and hosting two open houses. These efforts engaged more than 500 community members in multiple languages to discover their main priorities.  

Through this engagement, SDK identified the community wanted to ensure a safe, walkable, bikeable, and welcoming intersection and prioritized features such as bright lighting, space for pop-up stores and green space. SDK also conducted project briefings with potential partners equipped to activate the new space, allowing them to provide a basis for three design options.  


The second phase resulted in demonstrating community responsiveness to the designs created. SDK created a story map, collected arial photography, and informed designs that allowed the public to weigh in on the process. The second round of engagement reaffirmed community priorities and allowed the public to provide further feedback on how their priorities may look in the space. The final design will reflect the community priorities while establishing partnerships that allow for construction to begin in early 2024. 

bottom of page