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MPHA Sumner Field collection

Identifier: N227

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of meeting minutes and notes, legal documents, correspondence, working papers, drawings, maps and research notes.


  • 1993-1997

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open to the public for research use.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of the materials with the exception of some few documents labeled "confidential."

Historical Note

In 1993 the Design Center for American Urban Landscape (part of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, now the College of Design) was invited by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) to review issues related to their troubled family housing in Minneapolis' Sumner-Glenwood neighborhood, located approximately one mile northwest of downtown. The initial focus of research was Sumner Field Homes, constructed in 1938 as the first public housing built in the state, located on a filled and buried creek bed with poor soils for underpinning buildings.

The area was also the subject of a lawsuit, filed in 1992 against HUD, as well as MPHA and the City, by Legal Aid on behalf of public housing residents and other parties. The lawsuit stemmed from resident complaints that the area was unsafe, in poor condition, and amounted to discrimination because housing choices were limited to an isolated, disadvantaged neighborhood. The parties agreed to a "Consent Decree" planning process, in which questions of legal liability are put aside and settlement discussions are initiated that focus on possible solutions to the issues raised by the complaint.

Throughout the initial five year planning process, the Design Center provided a variety of technical assistance related to urban and site design issues, creating documents for review, facilitating workshops, and reviewing proposals on behalf of the MPHA and Implementation Committee.

The current site is being used as a housing project called Heritage Park. The current project [2010] will contain a 900 housing-unit development: 440 rental, 360 for sale and 100 public housing units for the elderly. Heritage Park will include several housing types including single family homes, duplexes, garden apartments, townhouses, and carriage houses. The point to this project is to produce a mixed-income, mixed density, culturally diverse and amenity rich neighborhood. Construction on this project began in 2000 and is expected to be completed in the winter of 2009. The project will be constructed in four phases. Phase one includes 232 rental units and 38 for-sale units. Phase two and three are still under construction and phase four will be the construction of the senior housing sector.

Sources for this historical note include the following websites:,_1101_Olson_Memorial_Highway,_Minneapolis,_Minnesota and


40 Linear Feet


The collection consists of meeting minutes and notes, legal documents, correspondence, working papers, drawings, maps and research notes.

Physical Location

High Bay


The materials were donated in 2005 by Ann Forsyth, Director of the Metropolitan Design Center of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Marisa Tam in 2008.

MPHA Sumner Field Collection
Marisa Tam
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area