What is The Fargo Project

Watercolor rendering of a water feature: a plunge pool at a basin inlet

Watercolor rendering of a water feature: a plunge pool at a basin inlet

  The Fargo Project provides opportunities for local government to respond and work with the community and identify needs through a participatory process. With water as the vehicle for connecting people to the land, the approach intentionally activates our collective creative agency.  Artists, neighbors, engineers, landscape architects, and ecologists, work together to develop a solution to transform a neighborhood stormwater basin that fits their unique needs as a community. The World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park is the first installation of The Fargo Project, a collaboration between artists and residents to transform a 18-acre stormwater basin into an ecological community commons.  While the basin continues to hold stormwater during summer rains, added benefits of the Commons include improvements in water quality, pathways to connect the neighborhood, and beauty to benefit community. The effort is made possible through partnerships with ecological artist Jackie Brookner (1945-2015) and funding from ArtPlace America, the City of Fargo, Fargo Park District, The Kresge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.

Background

Debris3Throughout the City of Fargo, large basins collect stormwater to protect traffic and property during rainfall.  Often, the basins are dry and seem to have purpose only during rainfall. They are uninviting empty lots with little plant and wildlife diversity.
Community Involvement

WeDesign Event

Thanks to the community-process developed by renowned ecological artist Jackie Brookner, The Fargo Project hosted community design charrettes or intensive collaboration sessions with a diverse group of children, adults, artists, designers, neighbors, immigrants, and ecologists. Out of the imagination of those participants, the barren site is transformed: a welcoming commons to reintroduce plant, soil and wildlife, sculptural landscape, wandering paths with the intent to reintroduce each other to our human and cultural dependence on natural ecology.
World Garden Commons where Art, Community and Ecology converge as Prairie for the People

Vision

The Fargo Project Approach
Link community members, local government, and nonprofits through ecologically and socially responsive place-making.
World Garden Commons, Rabanus Park
World Garden Commons is the first installation of the Fargo Project to demonstrate how holistic ecological restoration, socially engaged ecological art, and active community process can synergize to transform functioning stormwater infrastructure into vibrant multifunctional green spaces for our urban community.
World Garden Commons Objectives:
  • Engage area residents in the ongoing creation of culturally significant public spaces
  • Provide natural regional landscapes experiences
  • Improve storm water quality
  • Explore ecologically-sound storm water management practices in this region
  • Restore native prairie and wet meadows to enhance local biodiversity
The World Gardens Commons at Rabanus Park is responsive to the neighborhood’s social structure, cultural history, natural history, and its relationship to the Red River watershed. The site is the first installation of The Fargo Project and made possible through partnerships with ecological artist Jackie Brookner (1945-2015) and funding from ArtPlace America, City of Fargo, Fargo Park District, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.