Children’s Ideas Leading Design Reviews

Over the past few months, artists, engineers, landscape architects, planners, and project managers gathered to consolidate the creative ideas contributed by a community of elementary kids. After the WeDesign Charrette with Westside Elementary’s 5th grade class, the team consolidated student’s ideas into program elements for natural play at World Garden Commons.

The design team shared the schematic plans with Fargo Parks District, partnering non-profits, and educators that helped to plan the 5th Grade WeDesign events. Their feedback identified the importance of connecting features with varying sensory experiences especially texture and smell.

The goals for World Garden Commons and the overarching Fargo Project has always remained the same: create a space where community can learn from and experience nature close to home. And as the plans transition into final form, with community feedback and design review, the team is making sure to “let the children lead” in the design.


Community finds its artistic voice

Community Finds Its Artistic Voice on Vimeo.

Through The Fargo Project, artist Dwight Mickelson, engages diverse communities in the transformation of an 18-acre stormwater basin into a public commons. It’s an example of creative place-making with ecological restoration and community involvement at the forefront. The resulting World Garden Commons (WGC) represents a community desire to transform a stormwater basin into prairie, wildflower, and wet meadows with environmental learning labs, walking trails and gathering places.

Featured in the video are 5th Graders from Westside Elementary, West Fargo who participated in a WeDesign charrette on Earth Day 2016. The goal was to generate a vision and develop natural play features for World Garden Commons based on the student’s input.

More than a party in the park: exploring and creating in World Garden Commons

It was a perfect summer evening for the Park District’s Party in the Park at Rabanus Park. Children gathered around artist Dwight Mickelson’s table to create take-home models representing a vision of natural play features in the stormwater basin. While kids were deeply engaged in the activity, volunteers took the opportunity to visit with attendees about the research, construction, and restoration within The Fargo Project’s World Garden Commons.

Researcher Jesse Riley and Kene Okigbo of Reach Partners took kids and families on tours (in waders and boots) to get in the mud, explore and to learn about the research equipment; Jack Wood and Growing Together gave potted flowers to each family and child, and the City of Fargo’s Planning team (Maegin Elshaug, and City Planning interns Catlyn, Kristina and Paige) tested a proposed overlook within the basin using flags to outline of the shape and to draw people into the basin.

A highlight was the conversations with some of the students who participated in the Westside 5th Grade WeDesign event. Anders, a student involved in the 5th Grade WeDesign Charrette, shared his ideas for shaping the natural play features in the basin and engaging the neighborhood.


Party in the Park – Rabanus Park

WHEN: Tuesday, July 12

TIME: 5:30-8:00 PM

WHERE: Rabanus Park – site of the World Garden Commons

Each Fargo Park District neighborhood park gets a special Tuesday night event to celebrate being outside, neighbors and all the fun of our beautiful Fargo parks.  In addition to the Park District’s activities and the onsite Growing Together garden, Jesse Riley will give tours of his research in the basin, Dwight Mickelson invites young designers to model their dreams and Kene Okigbo invites comment on future features for natural play.


Design Your Space Interactive Charrette

Anyone can design their own stormwater basin.

Thanks to the efforts of Minnesota State University Moorhead students, Kaitlyn Mann, Samantha Szczesny and Kevin Schwab anyone visiting The Fargo Project website can dream up their own design.  The students spent an entire semester working on an interactive design program for brainstorming the look and function of future stormwater basins in Fargo.

The interactive program features iconic illustrations (designed by the college students) which users drag and drop onto a graphic stormwater basin with an inlet and outlet. It’s up to the user to design a space using graphic natural materials like flowers, grasses, bushes, trees, and built features like furniture, paths, and bridges.

Design Your Space