Spring 2015
Lincoln, NE

Lancaster County, NE

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.

Workshop Challenge:

Lancaster County is made up of twelve incorporated towns and villages in close proximity of Nebraska’s state capitol, Lincoln. The proximity to nearby schools, institutions, jobs, retail, restaurants, and cultural destinations are fantastic assets. Yet 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. In this context, the workshop sought to create toolbox of design techniques to help Lancaster recapture its sense of place.

Workshop Outcomes:

The workshop featured representation from the town of Bennet, Denton, Firth, Hallam, Hickman, Panama, and Waverly. There were over seventy participants in attendance including representation from U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Association of Realtors, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Nebraska Arts Council.The workshop build momentum in the community for implementing a series of Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) projects in Hallam, NE (pop. 218) and Bennet, NE (pop. 814.). LQC projects are short-term, low-cost pilots that let communities experiment with different possibilities for a space without having to incur the high cost of a major development project.

Post-Workshop Accomplishments:

Representatives from Hallam wanted to revitalize the village’s Main Street to give downtown a more unified theme and improve the pedestrian experience. The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper activities provided the perfect opportunity to test temporary traffic calming curb extensions, seating, and public spaces-like a ‘reading nook’. The decorative LQC benches downtown were so well used they have now been kept as permanent fixtures in the community.

Read More:

Read more about our workshop here

Read our workshop notebook here

Read more about Lancaster County's Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper activation in Hallam and Bennet following the CIRD workshop here.