Citizen's Institute on Rural Design
The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: A Journey through Lancaster County’s Towns and VillagesJune 10, 2015
Within a stone’s throw of the state capital of Nebraska are the twelve incorporated towns and villages of Lancaster County. Their populations hover around a few hundred each, save for the 3,227 residents of Waverly. The proximity of these communities to Lincoln is both blessing and curse. The nearby schools, institutions, jobs, retail, restaurants, and cultural destinations are fantastic assets. Yet, the flip side is Lincoln dominates the majority of economic and cultural activity in the county. The towns of Lancaster County want to be seen as more than just bedroom communities. They want to provide a diverse set of experiences and services, both public and private. More than anything, they want their residents to have a sense of ownership and civic pride over their community. In this context, Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design ™, in partnership with the The Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department oversaw a two-and-a-half day workshop intended to create a toolbox of design techniques and resources to help the villages of Lancaster County recapture their sense of place. There is no single path for achieving these goals, but the folks of Lancaster County already had a better sense than most that it requires a mixture of services, programming, and amenities.
May 7, 2015
We spoke to Maria Sykes, a citizen architect and the co-founder of the public interest design firm Epicenter, to learn more about what it takes for rural projects to become successful.
February 6, 2015
The unique culture of Oregon County, MO played an integral role throughout their workshop, which was dedicated to creating a vision for the Co-Op’s expansion into a vacant building-- from a presentation of the Ozarks’ vernacular architecture that kicked off the workshop, to the live folk and country music that ended each day of great work— to the designing itself.
November 5, 2014
On September 12th, we arrived in Alton, Missouri, and stepped into the warm, eclectic and fresh-baked pie scented space of the Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op to plan their November workshop-- which will cover vernacular architecture, local food production, regional food security, green building design, and Co-Op development.
September 30, 2014
This past July we sent out a request for stories of rural communities fighting the decline of their main streets and town centers. Berwick, Maine told us their story of their town's revival, and how they incorporated different strategies, including community-wide engagement and visioning in the wake of the closing of their leather tannery, and the vacant site it left behind.