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, ecologists, work together to develop a solution to transform a neighborhood retention pond 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 storm water basin into an ecological community commons. While the basin continues to hold storm water 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, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.
Throughout the City of Fargo, large basins collect storm water 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.
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
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 storm water 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