During the neighborhood engagement phase of The Fargo Project, the local artist team set out to ask individuals within the community, and especially from the neighborhoods surrounding Rabanus Park, what they would like to see in this new space. From these discussions, the project team was able to condense this information into four different ideas which seemed to stand out as the most important to the community. The main ideas emphasized were: more plants, spaces for celebration, spaces to exercise, and an emphasis on the elements.
Plants - A recurring theme among community members has been the desire for more vegetation in Fargo. Many different ideas such as community gardens, wildflower patches, native plantings, orchards, and wetlands have been presented as possibilities. Ethno botanist Linda Different Cloud visited in late March to help members of The Fargo Project understand all of the different ways plantings could be integrated effectively and meaningfully into a storm water basin area.
Linda Different Cloud discussing on site some of the possibilities and constraints associated with planting in a storm water basin.
Celebration - Locally, there is a strong interest in creating more spaces which celebrate culture and an awareness of community. Spaces which could be used for festivals, amphitheatres, musical performances, and pathways for relaxation and contemplation were some of the ideas mentioned.
The Elements - Certain features will always be present on an outdoor site, and learning not only to adjust, but to embrace those elements will help to enhance the quality of the site. For example, shelter belts help to protect from the wind and temporary shelters help protect from the sun. Natural playgrounds and sculpted terracing can help to emphasize the earth. Finally, water is a major catalyst within this project, and design features such as creeks, fountains, and ponds help to emphasize this element.
Exercise - Fargo may not be outdoor friendly during many months of the year, but when it is nice people want to be outside enjoying it. Many outdoor activities such as walking and running need safe and inviting pathways away from heavy vehicular traffic to travel along. Gardening is also an enjoyed activity in the spring and summer months. In the winter, sledding and skating are often the favored forms of exercise. Part of this design challenge will be to create spaces which can be used for outdoor activity both in the summer and winter months.
Turning Ideas into Design
After gathering information and ideas during the public outreach phase, the most common themes were used as a basic framework which was presented to the community during the April 29th Design Charrette. This design toolbox was made up of different design elements that the community could use to start visualizing the space at Rabanus Park.
Every table at the April 25th Design Charrette was supplied with its own set of design elements which could be used to create unique design solutions.
Members of the community along with area design professionals gathered to visualize how the Rabanus Park space could be used and arranged. A combination of schematic drawings, cut-out images, and rough sketch model making was used to document these design ideas.
All of the ideas gathered at the April 29th Design Charrette will be merged to create a public space which is designed by the community as a whole. Public input will continue to be garnered as the design process molds into implementation and construction.