MINNEAPOLIS -- It's the perfect learning tool in their own backyard.
"This is a great opportunity for students," says Pat Nunnally from the University of Minnesota.
Nunnally teaches courses on the Mississippi River and urban design. This Spring's flooding has provided an excellent backdrop for learning.
"The U of M is one of the great universities and it's along one of the great rivers in the world," says Nunnally. "We're getting our students involved in real-world research and learning."
Specifically, undergrads and graduate students alike are studying the affects of natural systems on urban development. In other words, how major cities interact with rising, river waters.
Nunnally says we shouldn't be surprised. Rivers do flood.
"We need to understand that this is a live, physical, biological system in our midst and we've put a human system around it. The question is how do we gracefully put those two systems together."
And therein lies the learning for dozens of students the 'U.'
"We're studying the day-to-day events of the flooding," says Nunnally.
The class also discusses how the Twin Cities compares to other cities when it comes to the interaction between urban development and Mother Nature.
"The Metro area does pretty well. There are a lot of cities where obsolete transportation and industrial infrastructure is something they're having to re-design around rivers. The Twin Cities does a great job of balancing every aspect plus making the Mississippi River an environmental asset as well."
Nunnally and the University of Minnesota have provided an online forum for everything flood-related. The site combines links to government agencies, flood-related articles and research, plus historical information.
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