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Full text of "Managing change in rural communities : the role of planning and design"

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Managing Change in 
Rural Communities 






T^e Role of Planningii^ 
and Design 





National Endowment for the Arts 
Design Program 





S 



U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Natural Resources 
I* It Conservatior) Service 




On October 20, 1994, the 
Soil Conservation Service 
became the Natural 
Resources Conservation 
Service. To avoid confu- 
sion, the agency is referred 
to as the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service 
throughout this publica- 
tion, even though it was 
the Soil Conservation 
Service at the time of 
the Rural Design 
Demonstration Project. 



Contents 



Preface 2 

Introduction 4 

Profile: Golden Hills RC&D 9 

Creating a Scenic Byway 10 

Profile: Oconee River RC&D 14 

Analyzing Highway Alternatives 16 

Profile: Castleland RC&D 19 

Enhancing a Flood Control Project 20 

Visual Simulation Technology 25 

Evaluating Rural Resources 26 

Countryside Assessment Process 29 

Conserving Water Through Design 30 

Expanding Environmental Education 34 

Results in Rural America 38 

Additional Information and Assistance 40 

Project Documents 42 

Acknowledgments 43 



Preface 



Americans who make their Hving from the land — and 
those who hve in small communities closely bound to 
the land — know the importance of stewardship. 
Conservation and development, when balanced and complemen- 
tary, enable families and towns to be both economically and 
socially viable, while ensuring that future generations will enjoy 
rural America's bounty and heritage. Such stewardship applies 
equally to the environment humans have made as it does to nat- 
ural resources. 

This booklet is about stewardship — with a twist. It's 
about the benefits of adding design skills to the mix of talents 
found in rural America. Specifically, it recounts the experiences 
of three landscape architects whom our agencies placed in three 
Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) areas for a 
2-year pilot project. We asked them to apply their skills within 
the context of RC&D objectives chosen by local citizens. They 
used inexpensive computer-based imaging technology to com- 
municate graphically various conservation and development 
alternatives. 

The results in Georgia, Iowa, and Utah were exciting and 
gratifying: citizens were eager both to improve the stewardship 
of their land and to participate in shaping their communities in 
new and productive ways. We offer here a sampling of the stories 
and the techniques used, as well as information about available 
resources. 

As you can tell, this booklet is also about creative partner- 
ships among the design professionals and the many public and 
private sector players who took part in RC&D-sponsored projects. 
It's also a celebration of a unique partnership between our agen- 
cies. Signifying the breadth of its conservation concerns and its 
goal of bringing appropriate technical assistance to bear on rural 
resource issues, the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) has changed 



its name to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 
For its part, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) places a 
priority on serving the cultural needs of all rural communities, 
both by supporting indigenous talent and by bringing the best in 
the performing, visual, and literary arts to citizens in small towns. 
Through its Design Program, NEA also supports community pro- 
jects in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, 
planning, and other design fields. Shaping town and countryside 
in ways that are pleasing to the eye while also meeting both 
human and ecosystem needs is truly an art, and one in which all 
people can participate. 

"A productive nation in harmony with a quality environ- 
ment" is the vision of the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service. But in reality, it should be every citizen's credo, for 
every American, whether in rural, suburban or urban settings, 
receives the benefits and therefore bears the responsibility for 
our use of this country's extraordinary rural landscape. We hope 
you will find in this booklet both inspiration and down-to-earth 
practical information to apply to resource issues in your commu- 
nity and to share with others. 




y CX^^^X UJ ' -^ ''I'-v-'ytrL-'X. 




Jane Alexander Paul W. Johnson 

Chairman Chief 

National Endowment Natural Resources 

for the Arts Conservation Service 



Introduction 





■I 



Across rural America, many communities face the prospect 
of change. Their economies rely less and less on the 
traditional bedrock sources of agriculture, timber, and 
mining. Whereas some communities are in decline and losing 
population, in others, leaders are discovering new ways to create 
products from farm and forest, such as developing specialized 
truck farming to serve new urban markets. Still others have 
attracted service-oriented businesses, such as data-processing 
and catalog marketing firms freed from urban dependence by 
new telecommunications technologies. Many also are becoming 
exurban bedroom communities for distant cities, or attracting 
second-home developments whose residents are drawn by scenic 
and recreational opportunities. 

However economic development comes about, it can place 
growing burdens on the quality and character of rural landscapes 
and the amenities offered by smalltown life. If not properly man- 
aged, growth can harm rather than enhance the diverse natural 
and cultural resources that rural areas offer. 

Wherever change is affecting the way towns and country- 
side look, citizens and their elected officials are searching for 
techniques to sustain a balance between the parallel goals of 
development and resource conservation. It is in this area that 
design professionals can make a significant contribution to local 
decisions about land use and economic diversification, while con- 
serving the quality of the places where people live and work. 

A Design and Conservation Partnership 

This was the inspiration behind the Rural Design Demonstration 
Project, a joint endeavor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 
and the National Endowment for the Arts. Sponsored by 
Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and NEA's 
Design Program, the project placed design professionals in plan- 
ning assistance roles in Georgia, Iowa, and Utah. 

The goal of the demonstration project was to explore, over a 
2-year period, how design professionals, in this case landscape 
architects, can help local people take advantage of resource oppor- 
tunities and solve environmental problems. The potential for 
using these design skills in rural settings remains largely untapped. 



The President's Council on Rural America recom- 
mended in 1992 that government "adopt a flexible approach 
to locally-conceived rural community development, support- 
ing it with technical assistance, v^ith funding support, and 
with the involvement of businesses, educational institutions, 
private foundations and volunteers." The demonstration 
project fit well into this broad philosophical framework by 
showing that design professionals can assist rural Americans in 
their search for sustainable economies while preserving the 
character of their landscapes and small towns. 



The RC&D Framework 

In partnership, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and 
the Design Program were uniquely qualified to introduce the 
skills of landscape architects into the planning processes of rural 
areas. The Natural Resources Conservation Service has long 
administered programs to help people conserve, improve, and 
sustain natural resources and the environment on private lands. 
Unlike such agencies as the National Park Service, U.S.D.A. 
Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management, which address 
federally owned land, the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service concentrates on helping private landowners and local 
units of government. One way it does this is through the 
Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program, 
established by Congress in 1962. The nationwide network of 
RC&D areas was founded specifically to encourage locally spon- 
sored rural efforts. 

In 1988, the Design Program commissioned a study on the 
use of landscape architects by Federal agencies. It pointed out 
that the profession's contributions in broad areas of environmen- 
tal design, planning, and management 
remained largely unknown and under- 
utilized in much of rural America. 
This study led the two agencies to 
choose the RC&D Program for the 
Rural Design Demonstration 
Project because it encourages active 
involvement of local residents 




Coordinator Mac Hayes meets 
with planning committee for a 
greenway project sponsored 
by the Oconee River RC&D 
Council, Watkinsville, Georgia. 



RC&D areas selected in Utah, Iowa, and Georgia 
brought a variety of community and resource issues 
to the demonstration project. 





within a public-private organizational structure 
that effectively accomplishes lasting change in 
rural communities. Each of the 277 RC&Ds in 
the Nation is a non-profit, independent organiza- 
tion headed by a council of citizens and local 
government officials in a multi-county area. The 
Natural Resources Conservation Service employs 
a full-time coordinator in each RC&D and pro- 
vides both staff and funding support. The coordi- 
nator develops public-private partnerships and 
seeks additional funds needed to implement 
projects adopted by his or her council. Local 
initiative, an entrepreneurial spirit, and teamwork 
are the hallmarks of the RC&D approach. 
The interdisciplinary emphasis of the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service and the local 
framework provided by the RC&Ds seemed ideally suited to the 
Rural Design Demonstration Project. Three RC&D areas were 
competitively chosen to participate: Oconee River in northeast 
Georgia, Golden Hills in southwest Iowa, and Castleland in 
southeast Utah. 




Tapping Design Skills 

Regardless of their specialization, design professionals such as 
architects, landscape architects, planners, and engineers are 
trained in certain fundamental skills, which include analyzing 
resources and user needs, envisioning alternative solutions, and 
communicating those alternatives to others. They are accustomed 
to working in interdisciplinary teams with fellow designers and 



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collaborating with a variety of other specialists, such 
as sociologists, economists, and developers, whose 
skills are necessary in understanding and bringing about 
appropriate change in the built environment. 

Whether responding to the needs of a specific site or devel- 
oping a management plan for a broad area of the countryside, 
landscape architects take a comprehensive approach to the envi- 
ronment, weighing the functional, cultural, and aesthetic conse- 
quences of design alternatives. In doing so, they must often take 
into consideration the many diverse and sometimes competing 
interests in communities and regions where people care deeply 
about their surroundings. As design professionals, they are able 
to synthesize and translate their knowledge and the specialized 
input of others into comprehensive plans or design concepts that 
will meet the varied needs of clients and user groups while also 
respecting the landscape's role in the larger ecosystem. 

The different environmental, economic, and social condi- 
tions in the three pilot RC&D areas provided a diverse yet fitting 
laboratory in which to put this array of design skills to work. The 
Natural Resources Conservation Service selected the following 
professionals for the job: Alison Krohn, for the Oconee River 
RC&D in Watkinsville, Georgia; Mimi Askew, for the Golden 
Hills RC&D in Oakland, Iowa; and Ken Ruhnke, for the 
Castleland RC&D in Price, Utah. 




Three Oakf JnA PbeK 
POR 




Demonstration Activities 

The balance of this booklet highlights some, but not all, of the 
activities undertaken by the three landscape architects in the 
demonstration areas. During their 2 years in the field, these indi- 
viduals responded to a wide variety of projects adopted by their 
respective RC&D councils, which also encouraged them to seek 
out additional opportunities. Their level of involvement ranged 
from informal consultation on site-specific design problems and 
opportunities to facilitating comprehensive planning efforts. 
During the course of the demonstration project, the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service and NEA selected nine projects, 
three from each RC&D, for documentation as case studies. 



HARRISON 



As Federal employees dealing with private land, the land- 
scape architects limited their involvement to providing conceptu- 
al design services. Therefore, when the implementation phase of 
an activity was reached, detailed design and construction draw- 
ings and plans were undertaken by the private sector. Another 
aspect of the demonstration project involved testing the effec- 
tiveness of image-processing technology and a countryside assess- 
ment methodology. The landscape architects were asked to 
adapt these tools to local circumstances, as appropriate, and to 
evaluate their applicability in rural situations. 

Case studies and related information are available from 
each of the RC&D offices participating in this project. In addi- 
tion, reports on image-processing and countryside assessment can 
be obtained from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. 
For information on how to obtain them and for additional sources 
of assistance, see page 40. 





Landscape architect Mimi 
Askew (top); eroding 
channel in deep loess soils 
(bottom). The Loess Hills 
border productive farm- 
land along the Missouri 
River (opposite, top); con- 
ceptual plan for recreation 
area heals environmental 
problems while providing 
for diverse uses (opposite, 
bottom). 



8 




PROFILE: Golden Hills RC&D 



ft 

1 




The Golden Hills RC&D 
serves eight counties in 
southwestern Iowa. Bordered 
by the Missouri River, the 
area is roughly 90 miles long 
and 50 miles wide. Although 
the region's population of 
190,167 has remained rela- 
tively stable since 1900, there 
has been a steady shift away 
from the rural areas to the 
larger cities and towns, where 
72 percent of the people live. 
The RC&D area derives its 
name from the deep loess 
soils, very productive but 
highly erosive soils found in 
steep, rolling landscapes. At 
its western limit, the loess 
forms spectacular bluffs hun- 
dreds of feet high, framing 
the river with golden hills. 




Some of the issues fac- 
ing the region are soil erosion; 
the development of recre- 
ational and environmental 
education opportunities; eco- 
nomic diversification to pro- 
duce off-farm jobs and stabi- 
lize the rural population; 
development of tourism as 
part of the economic base; 
and the protection of scenic, 
natural, and cultural resources 



in a distinctive landscape. 
Mimi Askew and the Golden 
Hills RC&D addressed these 
issues in a variety of ways, 
such as educating landusers 
on methods of stabilizing 
streambanks, providing envi- 
ronmental materials for 
schools, and developing a 
master plan for conversion of 
abandoned gravel pits into the 
Nisha Bend Recreation Area. 




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NISHNA BEND RECREATION AREA 



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Creating a Scenic Byway 

Golden Hills RC&D, Iowa 




Forme, it was an 



opportunity t 
increas^a^arei 
of the Loess Hills 
They are very frag^T^ 
ile. And we were * 
going to se 
down on the nver 
bottom if so^' 
thing wasn't done. 





d G^thmon 

Former Mills County "■'^Kii. 
Supervisor, ^Wl^i 

Glenwood, Iowa 



M^. 





The Loess Hills region, seven counties which form the 
southwestern boundary of Iowa along the Missouri 
River, is often called "Iowa's best kept secret." The 
region's soils were formed over 10,000 years ago from rocks laid 
down by massive glaciers during the Pleistocene Ice Age. The 
movement of the glaciers ground the rocks into silt, which was 
carried down the river valleys by snowmelt in the slowly warm- 
ing summers. The fine, lightweight particles then were blown 
by strong westerly winds into tall bluffs which, over time, have 
been carved by wind and water erosion into the sharp ridges 
and deep ravines that characterize the hills today. 

Rising hundreds of feet above the adjacent Missouri River 
floodplain, the hills form a unique environment on the North 
American continent. The character of the loess soils makes 
them extremely sensitive to wind and water erosion. Any dis- 
turbance of the plant life that protects the surface can be cata- 
strophic. In a lifetime, a small drainage ditch can deepen into a 
canyon. 

For Mimi Askew, who suspected a lack of awareness 
among local citizens concerning the significance of their region, 
the character of the hills posed both a challenge and an opportu- 
nity. The pressures of new development were creating demand 
for rock from local quarries, for landfill space, and for exurban 
housing. At the same time, agriculture and grazing were 
encroaching upon steeper areas. The threat to landscape integri- 
ty created by increased development and changing agriculture 
created an opportunity to educate residents about the value of 
their environment and suggested a way to diversify the economic 
base through tourism. County officials and local organizations 
approached the Golden Hills RC&D asking for help in expanding 
upon a fledgling scenic byway effort that had begun in adjacent 
counties. With approval from the council. Askew worked with 
more than 140 volunteer residents on the development of what 
was to become a 221 -mile-long central route through the 7 coun- 
ties, accompanied by 12 excursion loops. The byway offers visi- 
tors and residents a means of experiencing the region's variety of 
scenery and vistas in an organized yet flexible manner. 





Scenic view of the Loess Hills 
(top) is altered on computer 
(bottom) to simulate visual 
impact that quarry operations 
and roadside signs could have. 





As former Supervisor Gammon noted, "We are 15 minutes 
from downtown Omaha. The project was a catalyst to bring 
awareness of the hills to people outside. And tourism is definite- 
ly picking up." The Loess Hills Scenic Byway hugs the bottom 
of the bluffs in some locations, offering magnificent views of the 
region. In other locations, the route travels through the heart of 
the hills, with breathtaking vistas on both sides of the road. 
Through the process of assessment, which included identifying 
natural and cultural resources as well as analyzing visitor facilities 
and safety factors, the final selection of routes rested on a firm 
foundation of landscape values as articulated by the people of the 
Loess Hills. The byway became a reality with official designa- 
tion by the Iowa Department of Transportation, the posting of 
route signs, and the production of a descriptive brochure on the 



11 





The Loess Hills Scenic Byway 
offers residents and visitors 
numerous opportunities to 
discover and explore the 
landscape of western Iowa. 
Whatever their form of 
transportation, choice of 
recreation, or length of stay, 
tourists give a boost to the 
rural economy. 



geology, natural resources, and history of the region. The Loess 
Hills Scenic Byway was recognized by Scenic America as one 
of the nation's "Ten Most Outstanding Scenic Byways" in 1992. 
In addition, the Missouri Valley, Iowa, Welcome Center reported 
a 237-percent increase in visitors at its facility between 1989 
and 1992. 

The process of creating the scenic byway revealed that no 
information had been gathered concerning natural and cultural 
resources in the seven-county area for conservation planning pur- 
poses. This led to formation of the Loess Hills Alliance, a grass- 
roots group concerned with promotion of the scenic byway and 
with land management issues in the region. Volunteers fanned 
out beyond the corridors bordering the scenic byway to collect 
data and gather information from public and private agencies and 
organizations. The study's final report, entitled Loess Hills 
Landscape Resource Study, explores the resources of the land- 
scape in detail, including critical resources maps, attitude surveys 
of residents, and a list of residents' favorite places. It is accompa- 
nied by a video, "Ours to Care For: The Loess Bluffs of Western 
owa. 

"We surveyed about 500 households for the landscape 
resource study," said Askew, "and found they have very strong 
beliefs about land use, scenic value, tourism, and all of the issues 
that go along with land management." 



12 



S.D. 



DIXON 



PLYMOUTH 



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WOODBURY 



THURSTON 



,MONONA^ 



LOESS 
HILLS 
SCENIC 
BYWAY 



BURT 



NEBRASKA 



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WASH. 



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DOUGLAS 



SARPY 



POTTAWATTAMIE 
1 



Designed to promote leisurely 
exploration, the scenic byway 
consists of a 221-mile-long 
paved "spine" and twelve 
excursion loops. With funding 
from the Federal Highway 
Administration, representa- 
tives from the seven counties 
are now developing a corridor 
management plan to guide 
future enhancement, conserva- 
tion and development of 
resources and amenities along 
the route. 



CASS 



MILLS 



FKEMONT 



OTOE 



1 



ATCHISON ' 



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NEMAHA 



RICHARDSON 




MO. 



KANSAS 



29 






13 



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PROFILE: Oconee River RC&D 




Landscape architect Alison 
Krohn discusses dairy farm 
improvements with the 
Stewart brothers (above 
right); addressing circula- 
tion, drainage and roadside 
visibility, the plan was 
featured in Successful 
Farming magazine (right). 
Concept plan for a Veterans 
Memorial Garden around 
the Danielsville, Ga., court- 
house integrates paving, 
ground cover, evergreens, 
and deciduous trees 
(above). 



Work will be 
completed this 
summer based on 
detailed plan. 



SUCCESSFUL FARMING, MAYJUNE, 1992 



14 




The Oconee River RC&D 
area comprises 10 coun- 
ties in northeastern Georgia. 
Stretching from the South 
Carohna border to metropoh- 
tan Atlanta and north to the 
Appalachian foothills, the area 
covers 2,987 square miles in 
the heart of the old Cotton 
Belt. Poultry production pre- 
dominates in the northern 
counties, and cattle or dairy 
herds are more prevalent in 
the southern portion. In both 
areas, red clay Piedmont soils 
are highly susceptible to ero- 
sion. Consequently, improv- 
ing water quality is one of the 
Oconee River RC&D 
Council's most important 
resource issues. 



Diversifying the econo- 
my while protecting the rural 
character of the landscape is 
another pressing issue as 
Atlanta pushes eastward, and 
Athens, home to the 
University of Georgia, spreads 
in all directions. Between 
1980 and 1990, population 
within the 10-county area 
grew by 20 percent, to 
277,912. Most of this growth 
is occurring in rural areas 
where there is little or no zon- 
ing or land use planning. - 
Among the projects designat- 
ed by the council for design 
assistance were a veteran's 
memorial garden, a construct- 
ed wetland, a farmstead plan, 
and a walking tour brochure 
and public amenity plan for a 
small town. 



Managing growth, protect- 
ing water quality and 
preserving rural lifestyles 
are among the issues facing 
residents in the RC&D area. 
Plan (above) shows place- 
ment of artificial wetlands 
on a hog farm to reduce 
ammonia so water can be 
reused. 



15 



NORTH 



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Analyzing Highway Alternatives 

Comer, Georgia 



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The video imagery 
is really valuable 
in just getting the 
point across — ^the 
audience under- 
stands what you're 
talking about, they 
get excited. 



Alison Krohn 

]CT\i)\ 

Oconee River RC&D 



One of the quickest ways to change a rural community is 
to widen its major highway. When the Georgia 
Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced 
plans to widen State Route 72, linking Atlanta and Columbia, 
South Carolina, the announcement quickly caught the attention 
of the residents of Comer, Georgia, a small town located along 
the highway. Homeowners were concerned with lumber and 
other heavy trucks coming through their historic neighborhoods, 
and with access to downtown shops. Merchants worried that a 
bypass could drain business away. Nearby farmers were troubled 
by the possibility that a bypass, if adopted, would split fields, 
making agricultural operations more difficult. 

Comer Mayor Dudley Hartel wanted more information on 
potential impacts, particularly on traffic patterns, and requested 
assistance from the Oconee River RC&D. Alison Krohn recruit- 
ed landscape architecture students at the nearby University of 
Georgia School of Environmental Design to make a thorough 
study of the road-widening proposals and their anticipated 
impacts on the community. GDOT proposed three alternates: 
widening the road through Comer from two to five lanes; split- 
ting traffic into a pair of east- and west-bound streets; and mov- 
ing the new highway a block south of the existing route, linking 
it with new construction to the existing road. 

"Comer offered enough complexity to make it a good stu- 
dent project," said Krohn, who herself videotaped the proposed 
routes. The students analyzed each alternative and assisted 
Krohn in developing a series of visual simulations to help 
Comer's residents understand what the new highway might look 
like. A student survey of townspeople revealed varying perspec- 
tives and concerns, but also a common interest in preserving the 
character and vitality of the downtown. At an open house for 
Comer residents, Krohn presented GDOT's proposed plans and 
the student analyses of them, along with computer-generated 
"before and after" views of the streets as they presently are and 
as they might be if the plans were implemented. 



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16 



ONE WAY PAIR 







Proposed High\Vay Alignment 

PI 



'Development pressure downtown; 
residential use replaced 
by commercial. 

*200^ net increase commercial activity. 

^TrafTic, pollution, and noise increase 
downtown. 

*Cross-to^vn trariic (north-south) more 
difTicult. 

*10 (+/-) structures arrected. 




-^fct^UCAfef' ,i«MMEj:c.IAl. One^AOOf- 



COMER, GEORGIA 



© 






HIGHWAY 72 IMPACT STUDY ; 

OCONEE RIVER RC&D March 1, 1992 



Plan (above) shows one option 
for handling increased traffic 
through downtown Comer 
(right), via a pair of one-way 
roads. 




Lumber and other heavy 
trucks found on many two- 
lane highways in the area 
(top) present a particular 
challenge to Comer's down- 
town and adjacent historic 
neighborhoods (bottom). 




17 




Krohn also called upon assistance from the preservation 
program at the University of Georgia and the Georgia Trust for 
Historic Preservation, whose suggestions for potential down- 
town Comer enhancements, such as trees, awnings, sidewalk 
repairs and building facade restorations also appeared in the 
video. 

According to Mayor Hartel, the road widening in Comer 
has been delayed by GDOT for several years, illustrating the 
long-term nature of professional involvement in rural commu- 
nity design issues. "The work we did will be brought up 
when we talk about economic development. It provides a 
baseline for future initiatives," he said. 

Although the Comer project has been delayed, it has 
been the inspiration for successful downtown revitalization in 
nearby Elberton, Georgia, whose residents saw the benefits of 
involving a design professional. Other Georgia towns have 
requested similar assistance. 




COMER 

TOWNSCAPE ,^_ 
STUDY p 

FRONT STREET 
EXTENSION PROI'OSAL 



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MAIN STREET NORTHBOUND 

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Castleland scenes (clock- 
wise from above) — the 
Crystal Geyser near Green 
River, a mountain bii<er, the 
vast landscape of the LaSal 
Mountains, and a Navajo 
ceremony — represent just 
a few of the varied commu- 
nities, cultures, and 
resource issues addressed ^ 
by landscape architect Ken 
Ruhnke. 



Citizens meet to discuss 
design options for highway 
and business district (above); 
plan prepared by university 
design class shows possible 
street and sidewalk improve- 
ments (below). 



18 



PROFILE: Castleland RC&D 




The Castleland RG&D area 
encompasses 11.2 million 
acres in four large counties of 
southeastern Utah. This vast 
area contains a rugged, beauti- 
ful landscape of astonishing 
variety, ranging from arid 
desert and sandstone bluffs to 
deep gorges and alpine forests. 
In 1990, the total population 
was only 57,000, with 90 per- 
cent concentrated in small 
towns and cities. Only 16 per- 
cent of the land is privately 
owned. The remainder is 
either managed by Federal and 
State governments or falls 
within the Navajo Reservation 




along the border with Arizona. 
Much of the area has experi- 
enced a boom-and-bust econo- 
my based on mineral extrac- 
tion, coal mining, and energy 
generation. Only 215,000 acres 
are used for crops, whereas 
some 7 million acres of private 



and public lands are devoted to 
livestock rangeland. To the 
south, the area centered 
around Moab has experienced 
a boom in tourism; in recent 
years more than a million 
tourists have flocked annually 
to the Whitewater rafting, 
mountain biking, hiking, and 
scenic wonders offered by 
Arches National Park, 
Canyonlands National Park, 
the Manti-LaSal National 
Forest, and other recreation 
areas. Conserving water, 
spreading the burdens and 
benefits of tourism 
more equitably through- 
out the area, and enhanc- 
ing the livability of com- 
munities for residents are 
key issues faced by local 
leaders. The projects 
adopted for design assis- 
tance by the Castleland 
RC&D Council included 
conceptual design for the 
restoration and enhancement 
of Crystal Geyser, one of three 
large, cold-water geysers west 
of the Rocky Mountains; analy 
sis of alternative sites and rec- 
ommendations to the Navajo 
Nation for a new fairground; 
and urban forestry planning in 
several small communities. 




' -^J^n 




19 




Enhancing a Flood Control Project 

Castleland RC&D, Utah 



In Moab, Utal 
there is probably a 
larger mix of out- 
looks on the envi- 
ronment and relat- 
ed values than in 
any other town 
in Utah. It became 
apparent that 
we couldn't move 
very fast, that we 
had to include 
the public in the 
decisionmaking, 
to get as many 
people into 
that process as 
were willing to 
participate. 

Ken Ruhnke 

Castleland RC&D 



■^iii^ 



Southeastern Utah, including Moab, does not suffer from a 
shortage of tourist interest. In recent years, more than 1 
million people annually have been attracted to recreation 
areas like the Green and Colorado Rivers, Manti-LaSal National 
Forest, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and the millions 
of acres under stewardship of the U.S. Bureau of Land 
Management. In addition, Moab, like many small cities in the 
desert Southwest, has faced the prospect of infrequent, yet major, 
flooding when the nearby LaSal Mountains experience unusually 
high rainfall or rapid snowmelt. 

When the city asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to 
investigate long-term flood control measures along Mill Creek, it 
also asked the Castleland RC&D to look into ways that flood 
control could be modified to improve recreational opportunities, 
aesthetic values, and habitat. The 1992 Corps of Engineers 
study evaluated a full range of flood protection measures, and 
was used as the basis for a broader Sixteen-Year Flood Control 
Project with Recreational Amenities plan, prepared by RC&D 
landscape architect Ken Ruhnke working with Moab city planner 
Kathlyn Collins. The plan was developed with the help of a citi- 
zens advisory committee and representatives from the Corps of 
Engineers, State Divisions of Wildlife and Water Rights, State 
Department of Agriculture, Grand County Soil Conservation 
District, Moab Irrigation Company, and Castleland RC&D. The 
plan developed by Ruhnke and the team identified ways to con- 
trol flooding without sacrificing aesthetic values or wildlife habi- 
tat. It also incorporated recreational opportunities, including a 
proposed Mill Creek Trail system to provide access to existing 
public lands and valuable pedestrian and bicycle links within the 
community. 

"The Mill Creek project demonstrates the expertise that a 
landscape architect can bring to a community in non-traditional 
design of flood control alternatives," Ruhnke said. "Small com- 
munities are often overwhelmed when trying to undertake a 
large, costly, complex engineering project. The projected costs 
boggle the mind, engineers speak in a technical language that is 
foreign to the public, and citizens sometimes do not learn about 
what is going on until the construction equipment is in their 
backyards." Through production of two videos, one aired on 
local cable television; open houses; and a variety of flyers, 
brochures, and newspaper articles, Ruhnke said, "we got people 
to visualize the different options for flood control treatment on 
Mill Creek." 



20 



Existing conditions along iVIill 
Creel< and computer-generated 
simulation of potential improve- 
ments for public access and 
amenities. (Note: Although 
based on low-resolution video 
images, such simulations were 
very effective in communicating 
design concepts and alternatives 
to local decision-makers.) 




Two-thirds of Moab's commer- 
cial and residential core would 
be at risk in a 100-year flood, 
as shown on the map below. 




21 





tXISTING 




PROPOSED 


,ir^~ 


WILL CREEK 


■■ 


aOOD CONTROL LEVEE 


=---^ 


BiKE LANE 




aOOD CONTROL WALL 


- • ' 


CONTOUR LINE 


ZirflHHI 


WALKWAY (PEDESTRIANS ONLY) 
TRAIL (PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES) ' 




PROi'ERTY LINE 




RETAINING WALL 


m 


VEGETATION 




PARKING AREA 
PRIVATE DRIVBVAY 


'-' — ; 


BUILDING 


o 


TREES 



SCALE 




^■\ '• 




22 






AND OTKPR ENHANCEMENTS TO THE SECTION 205 RECONNAISSANCE REPORT FOR 
FLOOD CONTROL, MILL CREEK AT MOAB, UTAH - OCTOOER 1992 - CORPS OF ENGINEERS 




&©^' 



:^^^*^ 



>^^- 



.^p-'-*f ja>- 







Large public works projects, like that proposed for Moab, 
take years to implement. Another of Ken Ruhnke's activities, 
the Downtown Helper, Utah, River Enhancement Project, 
demonstrated how a designer can facilitate community improve- 
ment on a much smaller scale. 

"It was originally sold as clean-up of a critical transient 
problem. But we knew it would be a major tourism draw. It's an 
incredible bang for the buck," said Ron Cooper, the project's 
coordinator in Helper. Community leaders in Price and Helper, 
about 100 miles from Moab, had long contemplated a hiking/ 
biking trail to link the two cities, which are 10 miles apart on the 
Price River. A wide range of problems, including an unwilling- 
ness to spend tax dollars and the diversity of land ownership 
along the route, combined to impede the project. 

But when Helper residents decided on the more modest goal 
of transforming a small section of the river, they gained momentum. 
The river in downtown Helper, next to the historic district, offered 
the advantages of being city-owned and close to local residents who 
would use the facility. And when the new mile-long park, complete 
with a pavilion, games areas, and fish habitat enhancements, was 
dedicated in May 1994, Helper had changed a community liability 
into "a major economic development project for Carbon County, 
Utah," said Cooper. 



Conceptual plan for Mill Creek 
(above) uses hiking-biking 
trail to link schools, parks, and 
neighborhoods to the business 
district, while pinpointing 
opportunities for improved 
wildlife habitat. Left: Mill 
Creek Advisory Committee. 
Below left: Volunteers clear 
brush along the trail. 



23 




Cooper credited the Castleland 
RC&D and Ken Ruhnke with 
successfully communicating what 
the concept would mean to local 
residents. "The mainly senior 
citizens here thought that we 
were going to create a nice place 
for the hobos to live," Cooper 
said. "But through Ken's ability 
to communicate design alterna- 
tives and respond to questions, we alleviated fears. Cooperation from 
local citizens went to 99 percent, compared with 90 percent disap- 
proval in the beginning." 

Ruhnke began by helping to organize a committee in which 
concerned citizens and elected officials could explore alternatives. 
The downtown Helper area was chosen as the best demonstration 
site. He worked with the Utah Division of Wildlife and the City of 
Helper to develop a conceptual plan and cost estimates. Ruhnke 
later prepared conceptual drawings for the trail, signs, and parking, 
and recommended disability design guidelines. 

"We've taken a $25,000 river enhancement grant," Cooper 
said, "and leveraging it eight to one with in-kind contributions 
created a mile-long, 8- foot-wide trail accessible to the disabled. 
It's a class act." 




Historic commercial area adjacent to the Price River in Helper, 
Utah (top right). Mayor Mike Dalpiaz (top left) and city council 
members at ground-breaking ceremony. Schematic plan drawn on 
computer (below) shows proposed project, now called the Helper 
City Centennial Parkway. 




Top photo shows existing 
marshy land between cropland 
and forest. Simulating a 
restored wetland, the low- 
resolution image (middle) 
took 1/2 hour to construct; 
greater detail in the high- 
resolution simulation (bottom) 
required 8 hours of computer 
use by designer. 



-J 



24 



Visual Simulation Technology 



Visual simulations have 
long been a tool in the 
arsenal of the professional 
designer, beginning with sim- 
ple sketches and progressing 
to color renderings. With the 
appearance of affordable desk- 
top computers capable of 
manipulating sophisticated 
landscape images, visual simu- 
lations have become a practi- 
cal, cost-effective way of 
showing the visual conse- 
quences of land use decisions. 
The computer field calls 
this technique image process- 
ing. The movie industry, for 
example, uses it to produce 
special effects. The same 
kinds of three-dimensionaJ 
images provide valuable diag- 
nostic information to the med- 
ical profession. The technolo- 
gy i's useful whenever visual 
communication of ideas and 
designs can enhance under- 
standing, and has been used 
by the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service since 
1987 in planning, design, and 
environmental impact analysis. 



The three landscape 
architects were enthusiastic, 
yet cautious, about the use of 
visual simulation. "I think it's 
very valuable," said Iowa's 
Mimi Askew. "In rural design 
and conservation, for example, 
it can play a very strong role as 
a communication tool." 

"It was a tool," echoed 
Utah's Ken Ruhnke, "and I 
found that I used it quite a 
bit. The key to image pro- 
cessing is to use it when it is 
warranted." 

Using either a video 
camera or a scanning device 
for print photographs or sHdes, 
images are captured as com- 
puter files. Once in the com- 
puter, different elements of 



compatible 
computer 
graphics ' 



the image can be moved or 
deleted, or other images can 
be imported to produce alter- 
native scenarios. 

Using the technology 
may be time-consuming — it 
can take a day's work to create 
a high-quality reconstruction 
of a given scene. However, it 
greatly extends the reach of 
the designer's ideas by show- 
ing both existing conditions 
and the impact of alternatives 
in context. The resulting sim- 
ulations can be displayed in 
different formats — photo- 
graphs, videos, television, or 
cable broadcasts— thereby 
enhancing citizen participation 
in the planning process. 




videotapes 



compatible 

computer 

graphics 



film recorder/ 
printer 



25 




Madison County 
is an emerging 
county, and the 
study proved 
why a new crop 
of people HM 
moved here — 
the important 
qualities of the 
landscape. 



Barbarianne Russell 

Executive Director, 
Madison County 
Ctiamber of Commerce 




Evaluating Rural Resources 

Oconee River RC&D, Georgia 




In 1989, the Georgia legislature required local governments to 
develop plans that would guide future growth. The 
Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center had pre- 
pared a comprehensive plan for Madison County by the end of 
1990, which included a requirement to update it in 1995. In its 
land use section, the plan called for Madison County to "accom- 
modate natural and planned growth in an efficient, practical and 
coherent manner without unreasonable intrusion into the rural, 
home town way of life of its people or destroying in an indiscrim- 
inate way the natural beauty evidenced in its landscape of gently 
rolling hills, wooded areas and open spaces." 

This was the inspiration for the Madison County Land- 
scape Assessment, which established a baseline of what residents 
thought about their environment in a county where, at least in 
the early 1990s, no billboards advertised fast food restaurants. 
Residents knew that change was coming, with a projected growth 
rate of nearly 20 percent in the next 10 years. The assessment 
was requested from the RC&D by the county-wide Chamber of 
Commerce in 1991. 

Alison Krohn adapted the NRCS countryside assessment 
methodology for the Madison County study. Volunteers pho- 
tographed different areas of the county in different land use cate- 
gories, with emphasis on scenic quality, environmental integrity, 
or historical-cultural significance. 

These photographs then were used to create posters and an 
accompanying questionnaire that provided a means of gathering 
the opinions of more than 350 county residents at various public 
functions. The resulting compilation, revealing local preferences 
for the county's landscape resources, was published as the 
Madison County Development Primer, which identified 
and described "environments where people want to live, 
shop and spend their free time." The booklet also high- 
lighted residents' concern about the stewardship of his- 
torical sites and growing interest in protecting the 
Broad River watershed. Because of this interest, a 
newly formed land trust, the Broad River Watershed 
Association, was able to map the river corridor; and it 
used the information obtained to nominate the 
watershed to become one of Georgia's Regionally 
Important Resources, which could in turn lead to 
development of a management strategy for the area. 



Georgia 




As a result of the 
landscape assessment, 
and because of the 
expanding pressures of 
economic development, 
Madison County enacted 
a zoning ordinance favor- 
ing agricultural uses in 

December 1993. Barbarianne Russell put it best: "We struggled 
for 7 years with the independent nature of rural people — they 
want to do just what they want with their land. We had to con- 
vince them that if they didn't have restrictions, they could lose 
what they valued most." 

A design professional brought a lot to the discussion of the 
future in this rural society. "I see a need for similar expertise all 
across northern Georgia," said Mayor Hartel, "especially where 
we're talking about preliminary steps in a long-term project." 
The Regional Development Center is now weaving the process 
into its planning assistance for other Georgia counties. 



Survey of county residents 
led to the identification of 
favorite places, shown on the 
map below. The Broad River 
corridor and historic resources, 
such as covered bridges and 
Main Street areas, ranked 
high. 




+ 150 RESPONSES 

75-149 RESPONSES 

20-74 RESPONSES 

8-19 RESPONSES 
1-7 RESPONSES 



MADISON COUNTY 



FAVORITE PLACES 



27 



Residents rated commercial 
strips, trailer parks and 
poorly maintained farmland 
low, while favoring areas of 
natural beauty and recreation, 
traditional housing patterns, 
and signs of good steward- 
ship. The Development 
Primer (page 26) summarized 
their preferences as a guide 
for future development and 
conservation efforts. 




V^Sf^RUrZrfrl^ 



LAND USE: 

please rate the following 
scenes based on the land 
use or activities occurring 
in them. 




MADISON 

COUNTY 

COUNTRYSroE 

ASSESSMENT 















28 



Countryside Assessment Process 



getting 
organized 



V 



> 



understanding 
the study area 



V 



( 



Countryside 
Assessment 
Methodology 




selecting and 
calibrating indicators 




evaluating units and 
mapping visual quality 



Many people associate 
landscape architecture 
with site-specific projects 
such as public spaces, residen- 
tial lots, and corporate office 
parks; not with the broad 
resource analysis, planning, 
and design skills used in the 
demonstration project. The 
three landscape architects 
were encouraged to use land- 
scape assessment techniques 
where possible to involve 
local residents in the identifi- 
cation of resources and the 
articulation of their signifi- 
cance. 



The jumping-off point 
for landscape assessment was 
the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service's coun- 
tryside assessment process, a 
visual analysis methodology 
keyed to scenic values. 
Basically, the methodology 
attempts to break down the 
qualities of a landscape into 
its constituent parts: character, 
or harmony; uniqueness; 
fragility, or its ability to absorb 
change; fitness, or how well it 
is cared for; structure, or the 
way it looks formally; informa- 
tion, or how it engages the 
viewer; and, finally^ its mean- 
ing in a cultural sense. 

The process of assessing 
a landscape begins with find- 
ing volunteers willing to sur- 
vey its scenic, natural, and 
cultural resources photograph- 
ically. The results of the sur- 
vey then are used to widen 
the reach of the assessment. 



Survey photographs and an 
accompanying questionnaire 
are used to give the public an 
opportunity to express prefer- 
ences for different aspects of 
the landscape. The public 
also can be offered the oppor- 
tunity to visualize the results 
of potential improvements in 
land use, using computer-gen- 
erated images. 

The process depends on 
the active involvement of the 
people it affects — the resi- 
dents who, after all, will live 
with the decisions about land 
use that are taken. In both 
the Oconee River and Golden 
Hills RC&D areas, country- 
side assessments demonstrat- 
ed that pragmatic involve- 
ment by design professionals 
in the rough-and-tumble 
of rural politics can make a 
difference. 



29 



s 



Conserving Water Through Design 

Castleland RC&D, Utah 



Water is critical in 
the West. The aim 
of this project was 
to demonstrate the 
numerous ways — 
from conservation 
measures to 
appropriate plant 
selection — that 
public and private 
landowners can 
achieve both 
beauty and water 
efficiency. 

Ken Ruhnke 

Castleland RC&D 



The arid lowlands of southeastern Utah average from 
4 to 8 inches of rainfall each year, and even less during 
drought conditions. The availability of water affects 
residents' ability to landscape homes and public spaces, grow 
crops, feed livestock, and develop businesses, tourism, and 
industry. For many years, the RC&D Council had listed water 
conservation as a high-priority goal, and when Ruhnke arrived it 
asked him to address the issue. 

Ruhnke's preliminary research indicated that water con- 
sumption could be reduced dramatically. Forty percent of 
residential usage went to outdoor landscaping of non-native, 
water-intensive plantings, such as lawns, shrubs, trees, and 
flowerbeds. There were no educational programs directed at 
either the public or local government officials to encourage 
efficient water practices. 

After surveying Western States on successful water conser- 
vation programs, Ruhnke and the RC&D staff developed and 
implemented a public information campaign that targeted the 
general public and water department managers, city council 
members, and mayors in the four-county RC&D area and on the 
nearby Navajo Reservation. With financial support from the 
Rural Community Assistance Corporation, "Water Efficiency 
Workshops" were held featuring speakers from the Rocky 
Mountain Institute, Utah Department of Water Resources, U.S. 
Bureau of Reclamation, and the City of Provo. The aim was to 
build effective partnerships among academics, plant specialists, 
public officials, business people, and the public. 




Excessive irrigation (left) and 
water-demanding plants are 
inappropriate in semi-arid and 
arid landscapes. This residential 
development (opposite, below) 
uses drought-tolerant plants such 
as pinyon and mugo pines, yucca, 
sumac, barberry, and spirea. 



30 



One key goal of the educational 
campaign was to demonstrate the use 
of alternative landscape plants with 
low-water requirements appropriate to 
the area. To determine whether exist- 
ing plant guides for the Southwestern United States would be 
suitable for the Castlelands area, Ruhnke assembled 
an interdisciplinary team which included an Extension Service 
horticulturist at Utah State University and a plant materials 
specialist, soil scientist, and range conservationist from NRCS. 
He prepared schematic designs for three demonstration land- 
scapes to be installed at two public libraries and a museum in the 
area. He also secured a grant to enable the Extension horticul- 
turist to produce a Horticultural Guide for Southeastern Utah, 
to be published by Utah State University in 1995 and distributed 
through county Extension offices. 




Use of turf on median strip (above) results in high maintenance 
and water costs for municipalities. Water conservation options for 
both public and private landowners were addressed at workshops 
sponsored by the Castleland RC&D. 




Trees to shade west 
side of library 



Gravel strip under roof drip 
line to disperse water and 
landscape fabric to minimize 
weed growth 



Children's story circle 



Smooth edging stones 
installed flush with turf 
form low-maintenance hedge 



Full-sun-tolerant turf 
demonstration plots 



Sandstone gravel over 
landscape fabric to reduce 
evaporation and minimize 
weed growth 



Earth berm to redirect 
runoff and increase 
infiltration into soil 



Native shrubs and perennials 
adjustable drip or bubbler 
irrigation routed to each plant 




CLEVELAND LIBRARY 

WATER-EFFICIENT LANDSCAPE 



Ten irrigation zones and 
controller/timer allow 
maximum watering flexibility 



Improve soil by mixing 
in silty loam and organic 
matter 



This computerized version 
of a conceptual plan for the 
Cleveland Library emphasizes 
careful use of materials to 
conserve water. A "berm" 
of mounded earth increases 
penetration of stormwater 
into soil; landscape fabrics 
and mulch materials minimize 
evaporation and weed growth; 
and irrigation systems opti- 
mize watering efficiency for 
drought-tolerant, native 
vegetation. Surrounding trees 
reduce the library's energy 
consumption by providing 
shade in summer and sunlight 
in winter. 




32 




Trees to shade east 
side of library 



Wood privacy fence 




Earth berm to redirect 
storm runoff and increase 
infiltration into soil 






'''^^o;Z-^^.o 



Af^Ts 



'^07> 







Son /. ""Id . 




Wildflower area 



Shade tolerant turf 
demonstration plots 




/i>v'-i?>«-r!£> 






Mesa County Library (far left). 
Grand Junction, Colo., 
combines blue fescue, red-leaf 
rose, and manzanita for an 
attractive, drought-resistant 
landscape; microspray irriga- 
tion system (left) minimizes 
water waste, while gravel 
mulch retains moisture in soil. 
Above: Yarrow is among the 
species featured in Utah State 
University's plant guide for the 
RC&D area. 



33 




*^ 






The project has 
grown to a point 
where the city is 
bringing in two 
additional trails 
that will use the 
Nature Center as 
part of a trailhead. 
It's amazing the 
number of things 
that are tying M 
together on this ^ | 
project. I've never 
seen so many 
people get so 
interested and 
step forward 
to help. 




William P. Johnson 

Superintendent, 
Iowa School for 
the Deaf 




Expanding Environmental 
Education 

Golden Hills RC&D, Iowa 



The 25-acre campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf in 
Council Bluffs provided Mimi Askew with an unusual 
opportunity: to develop an outdoor environmental learn- 
ing center accessible to people of all abilities and to make the 
landscape part of the learning experience for 5,100 students at 
the school. 

Askew prepared an inch-thick report that contains the over- 
all conceptual design for the project. Initially, the idea had been 
"to use a very small plot in their backyard." After listening to 
school officials discuss the need for environmental education, and 
evaluating the limited opportunities for people with disabilities 
in the Council Bluffs-Omaha area. Askew proposed that the cam- 
pus itself be converted into the Nature Center. 

Instead of one small outdoor classroom, as envisioned in the 
original plan. Askew proposed a series of 21 exhibit areas ranging 
from a wetland to a prairie plains remnant to an exploration of 
Loess Hills habitat, all connected by a hard-surfaced path with 
accessible side pathways of different challenge levels. The plan, 
recognized that the quality of the experience for visitors of vari- 
ous ages and abilities could be severely compromised unless 
close attention were paid to material selection, siting, construc- 
tion specifics, and maintenance implications. For example, tac- 
tile and color-coded pavement strips will be installed in the main 
path for 36 inches before a person walking on the path encoun- 
ters a change in path materials or a potential hazard. The plan 
also recommended guidelines for plant materials and furnishings 
that would complement campus buildings and urged careful con- 
sideration of installation and future maintenance requirements. 

Having anticipated that phased installation of the Nature 
Center would take 5 to 10 years. Superintendent Johnson is 
optimistic that the timeframe will be much shorter due to local 
enthusiasm for the project. "This grew from a little idea into 
something much larger," he said. "We'll probably put a quarter 
of a million dollars into it. Right now, I see every penny of it 
being donated." 



■EE 



34 





FUTURE SITE OF: 



m uvm 



mm 





"■f .< iJ > UL 3e^ a tiHr^w i ■«>:> 



Sign (above) announces first 
phase of Nature Center imple- 
mentation. Right: Teenagers at 
the school sow seeds to 
restore prairie grasses, while 
NRCS staff shows teachers and 
younger students how to 
plant trees. Over $208,000 has 
been raised thus far for these 
projects and for orchard 
expansion, wetlands construc- 
tion, and arboretum planting. 



..tSI 




Master plan (pages 36-37) addresses circulation patterns and relation- 
ship of the 21 proposed exhibit areas to campus facilities. Italicized 
information highlights uses and design features of each area. Together 
the plan and detailed report give the school a comprehensive frame- 
work for achieving, in phases, its vision of exemplary environmental 
education for both school and community users. 



35 




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Results in Rural America 




\V 



4 




Throughout rural America, people are trying to create 
economies that work and yet sustain the natural 
resource systems and amenities that enhance the quality 
and character of their lives. The Natural Resources Conservation 
Service/NEA Rural Design Demonstration Project was an effort 
to show the benefits of integrating design into the process of 
rural change. While the 2-year project could not address many 
of the long-term problems faced by local communities, it did 
demonstrate much more clearly the issues, resources, and options 
involved. It also revealed the advantages that local communities 
can reap by involving design professionals in the day-to-day 
give-and-take of managing change. In Georgia, Iowa, and Utah, 
design professionals invigorated public participation in the 
decision-making process, and brought new technologies to 
bear on the subject of planning for the future physical shape 
of communities. 

The vision of the Natural Resources Conservation Service 
is to help create "a productive nation in harmony with a quality 
environment," or in other words, to help communities develop 
economies, institutions, and a social fabric that can be sustained 
over time. Clearly, economic vitality rests on producing a profit 
for those who depend on land for their livelihood and for those 
whose business is providing goods and services in rural communi- 
ties. Yet as Lyle Asell, Assistant State Conservationist for the 
Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa, points out, 
there is also another type of profit — "community profit" — 
which must be created if rural areas are to continue being vital, 
desirable places in which to live, work, and raise families. 

Though not easily quantifiable in dollars and cents, com- 
munity profit results when people invest their time and energy 
in examining resources and opportunities, discussing differences, 
sharing visions, and involving those less vocal or motivated. 
According to Asell, the Rural Design Demonstration Project 
showed the validity of the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service approach of delivering interdisciplinary skills to assist 
locally determined conservation and development projects. 
At the same time, it showed the benefits of broadening the array 
of skills available by adding the services of landscape architects 
as resident professionals familiar with local issues and able to 
involve more people in the process of shaping their future. 

Some of the activities assisted by the landscape architects 
have a clear link to economic vitality, such as the attraction of 
tourist dollars to the Loess Hills region of Iowa through a new 



scenic byway. Other examples, such as the routing of State 
Highway 72 and the revitahzation of downtown Comer, Georgia, 
will take years to unfold. Yet as Mayor Dudley Hartel acknow- 
ledges, the work in Comer and across Madison County lays a 
foundation for sustainable economic development in the future. 
He sees the engagement of so many more citizens in the exami- 
nation of issues and options as producing immediate community 
profit and predicts it will ultimately lead to more effective 
resource use and traditional economic benefits. 

Achieving community consensus on the kind of economic 
diversity that is desirable, on where further development should 
be encouraged, and on what important natural and cultural 
resources exist and should be protected creates a framework 
within which both public and private investment decisions can 
be soundly made. A community with a firm sense of its heritage 
and a clearly articulated vision of how it wants to grow is particu- 
larly attractive to business owners and investors, who appreciate 
knowing what the ground rules are in any potential location. 
Similarly, a community that has evaluated its resources and 
enhanced recreational and other amenities to improve local 
quality of life is also more likely to induce its young people to 
stay and to attract new residents, visitors, and businesses. 

Whether or not the projects described in this booklet 
reached or will reach implementation, all have laid a foundation 
for future action. In fact, each of the participating RC&Ds has 
made the services of a landscape architect a part of its continuing 
assistance activities. 

The demonstration project clearly revealed the advantages 
of having a design professional resident in rural areas, and of 
making him or her an ongoing part of a team approach to rural 
conservation and sustainable development. Across the country, 
other communities are searching for ways to involve design pro- 
fessionals in their daily work of managing change in the environ- 
ment. Two options are available through the RC&D framework. 
A design professional either can be hired as a Federal employee 
in the coordinator's office or can be retained through a mix of 
public and private contributions using the council's organizational 
structure and non-profit status. For more information on 
RC&Ds, including how to start one, contact your local office of 
the Natural Resources Conservation Service or its headquarters at 
PO Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. 



39 



Additional Information 
and Assistance 



Good places to begin look- 
ing for assistance from 
design professionals include 
offices of the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture's Natural 
Resources Conservation 
Service and Forest Service. 
The 275 RG&D offices, 
appropriate offices of State 
and local government, public 
and private universities that 
have design schools, and local 
or statewide organizations 
involved with conservation 
and development issues also 
are good sources, particularly 
those involved in economic 
development, community 
development, planning, and 
historic preservation issues. 
Regional councils of govern- 
ment and planning agencies 
also are well worth consulting. 

Many universities and 
schools of design offer com- 
munity service programs, 
although their scope and 
quality may vary depending 
on the involvement of faculty 
and the continuing turnover 
of students. Information on 
professional design practition- 
ers, regional and statewide 
chapters of professional design 
associations, preservation 
organizations, and schools of 
design can be obtained from a 
number of sources, including: 



American Society of 
Landscape Architects 

4401 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 
5th Floor 

Washington, DC 20008 
2021686-2752 
(FAX) 2021686-1001 
The ASLA is a national pro- 
fessional society representing 
private, public, and academic 
practitioners of landscape 
architecture. The Society's 
Open Committee on the Rural 
Landscape publishes a quar- 
terly newsletter and provides 
a forum for members, other 
design professionals, and relat- 
ed organizations with an inter- 
est in agriculture and rural 
landscape issues. For informa- 
tion on the Open Committee, 
the nearest ASLA chapter, 
and accredited undergraduate 
and graduate programs in 
landscape architecture, contact 
the Society's headquarters in 
Washington, DC. 



American Institute 
of Architects 

/ 735 New York Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20006 
2021626-7300 
(FAX) 2021626-7421 
The American Institute of 
Architects is the Nation's prin- 
cipal professional society for 
licensed architects, with 301 
chapters nationwide. The 
AIA's Community Design and 
Development Department 
provides technical assistance 
to cities and towns through 
two programs. Using volun- 
teer architects, the department 
puts together Regional/Urban 
Design Assistance Teams that 
visit host communities to 
engage citizens in intensive 
design "charettes" or work- 
shops that emphasize a multi- 
disciplinary, problem-solving 
approach to local issues. For 
information on this and other 
AIA programs or for the 
address of the nearest chapter, 
call or write AIA headquarters 
in Washington, D.C. For 
information on the nearest 
school of architecture, call 
the Association of Collegiate 
Schools of Architecture at 
202/785-2324 or (FAX) 
202/628-0448. 



40 



American Planning Association 
Public Information Office 

1116 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 
4th Floor 

Washington, DC 20036 
2021872-0611 
(FAX) 2021872-0643 
The American Planning 
Association is the Nation's 
principal membership society 
for professional land use plan- 
ners. As a non-profit educa- 
tional and research organiza- 
tion, the APA is devoted to 
protecting and improving both 
the built and natural environ- 
ments. Based in its Chicago 
office (312/431-9100), the asso- 
ciation's Planning Advisory 
Service provides research assis- 
tance and advice to communi- 
ties across the country. Also 
located in Chicago is the 
Planners Bookstore, which car- 
ries a variety of publications 
devoted to smalltown and rural 
planning. The association's 
Small Town and Rural 
Planning Division, a network 
of planners and community 
leaders, publishes a quarterly 
newsletter examining issues 
affecting rural and exurban 
areas. The Public Information 
Office in Washington, D.C. can 
provide addresses for the near- 
est APA chapter, division 
members, and accredited 
schools of planning. 



National Trust for Historic 
Preservation 

/ 785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20036 
2021673-4000 
(FAX) 2021673-4038 
The National Trust is a private, 
non-profit membership organi- 
zation chartered by Congress to 
foster appreciation of America's 
diverse cultural heritage and 
encourage the preservation of 
its historic environments. The 
organization has several special- 
ized programs that may be of 
interest to rural communities. 
These include 1) the Rural 
Heritage Program, which pro- 
vides information and limited 
technical assistance on rural 
planning and preservation 
issues, including scenic byways 
and heritage areas; 2) the 
National Main Street Center, 
which provides publications, 
training and technical assistance 
on the revitalization of down- 
town and neighborhood com- 
mercial districts; and 3) the 
Heritage Tourism Program, 
which assists individual commu- 
nities and multi-county areas 
interested in developing and 
marketing sustainable tourism 
based on cultural and historic 
resources. In addition, the 
Trust operates seven regional 
offices, which advise local com- 
munities on basic preservation 
procedures and are the initial 
point of contact for the organi- 
zation's grant and loan funds. 
For information on these and 
other programs, contact the 
Trust's Response Center which 
also has information on under- 
graduate and graduate programs 
in historic preservation. 



Design Access 

401 F Street, NW, Suite 322 
Washington, DC 20001 
2021272-5421 
(FAX) 2021272-5432 
Design Access is a national 
information and resource cen- 
ter for the design disciplines, 
created under the auspices of 
the National Endowment for 
the Arts and the National 
Building Museum. It main- 
tains a database listing all 
grants awarded by the 
Endowment's Design Program 
and a non-lending library of all 
final reports and products sub- 
mitted. Design Access also 
maintains a national design 
events calendar and a database 
of information on non-profit, 
professional, academic and 
advocacy organizations serving 
the design disciplines and 
related fields. Information 
specialists can provide free 
searches and print-outs of 
these databases and will pro- 
duce photocopies of final grant 
reports for a nominal charge. 



41 



Project Documents 



For additional copies of 
Managing Change in Rural 
Communities: The Role of 
Planning and Design, call the 
Soil and Water Conservation 
Society at 1-800-THE-SOIL. 
Case studies and topical 
reports related to the Rural 
Design Demonstration Project 
are available from the follow- 
ing locations: 



Case Studies 

Oconee River RC&D 
10 White Hall Road 
Suite A 
PO Box 247 
Watkinsville, GA 30677 

• Madison County Landscape 
Assessment 

• Comer, Georgia, Highway 72 
Analysis and Visual 
Simulation 

• Sidney Station Farm 
Constructed Wetland 

Golden Hills RC&D 
120 North Main Street 
PO Box 536 
Oakland, I A 51560 

• Iowa School for the Deaf 
Nature Center Master Plan 

• Loess Hills Scenic Byway 

• Loess Hills Landscape 
Resource Study 

Castleland RC&D 
PO Box 141 

652 W. Price River Drive 
Price, UT 84501 

• Mill Creek Flood Control 
and Recreation Project 

• Water Conservation Issues 
and Techniques 

• Crystal Geyser Restoration 
and Enhancement 



Topical Reports 

National Landscape Architect 
USD A, Natural Resources 
Conservation Service 
PO Box 2890 
Washington, DC 20013 

• An Introduction to Image 
Processing for Visual 
Simulation 

• The Use of Visual Simulation 
in Rural Design and 
Development: The SCS 
Experience 

• Countryside Assessment 



42 



Acknowledgments 



The Natural Resources 
Conservation Service and 
the National Endowment 
for the Arts wish to thank the 
following individuals as 
representative of the many 
people who contributed to the 
success of the Rural Design 
Demonstration Project. 



Adams, Carolyn, ASLA, Landscape Architect, West National 

Technical Center, NRCS, Oregon 
Adkins, Martin W., EWP Coordinator, NRCS, Iowa 
Asell, Lyle W., Assistant State Conservationist, NRCS, Iowa 
Askew, Mimi W., ASLA, Landscape Architect, NRCS, Iowa 
Beckwith, John E., Assistant State Conservationist, NRCS, Utah 
Bouchard, Carl E., Asst. Director, Community Assistance and 

Resource Development Division, NRCS, Washington, DC 
Duesterhaus, Richard L., Deputy Chief for Soil Science and 

Resource Assessment, NRCS, Washington, DC 
Eastman, Kresha, Coordinator, Castleland RC&D, NRCS, Utah 
Hayes, James M, Coordinator, Oconee River RC&D, NRCS, Georgia 
Holt, Francis T., former State Conservationist, NRCS, Utah 
Jann, Gary J., National Recreation Specialist, NRCS, Washington, DC 
Krohn, Alison, ASLA, RC&D Coordinator, NRCS, Maryland 
Quraeshi, Samina, Director, Design Program, NEA, Washington, DC 
Read, Hershel R., State Conservationist, NRCS, California 
Riekert, Edward G., former Director, Watershed Projects Division, 

NRCS, Washington, DC 
Ruhnke, Kenneth, ASLA, Landscape Architect, National Park 

Service, Oklahoma 
Vonk, Jeffrey R., Regional Conservationist, NRCS, Nebraska 
Welborn, Noel H., Coordinator, M&M Divide RC&D, NRCS, Iowa 
Wells, Gary W, ASLA, Landscape Architect, Midwest National 

Technical Center, NRCS, Nebraska 
Williams, Freddie, Assistant State Conservationist, NRCS, Georgia 



Project Managers 

Hawley, Peter E., Program Specialist, Design Program, NEA, 
Washington, DC 

Tuttle, Ronald W, FASLA, National Landscape Architect, NRCS, 
W^ashington, DC 



Production Credits 

Writer 
Editor 



Photo Research 

Design 

Art Director 



Carl N. Nelson, Washington, DC 

Sarah Laurent, NRCS, Office of Public Affairs, 
Washington, DC 

Robert Corry, NRCS, Washington, DC 

Supon Design Group, Washington, DC 

Julie S. Olson, USDA Design Center, 
W'ashington, DC 



43 



Photo Credits 



All photographs courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
except as noted: 



Cover: sidewalk vendor, 
Galesburg, IL 

Page 7: Greeneville, TN (top) 
Page 10: country road 
Page 13: tourists 



Page 14: (top and bottom) 



Page 17: neighborhood 



Page 19: LaSal mountains 

landscape architect 
Page 20: rock climber 
Page 22: brush clearing 
Page 26: lily pads 

Page 27: downtown 

Page 28: houses 

Page 30: water 

residential watering 

Page 31: median strip 

house 
Page 32: library 
Page 33: all photos 

booklet cover 

Page 35: all photos 

Page 38: wheat 



National Trust for Historic 
Preservation,Washington, DC 

National Trust for Historic 
Preservation, Washington, DC 

National Trust for Historic 
Preservation, Washington, DC 

Doris Irene Jepson, Loess 
Hills Hospitality Association, 
Moorhead, lA 

Mike Boyatt, Successful 
Farming, Des Moines, lA 

James R. Lockhart, Georgia 
Dept. of Natural Resources, 
Office of Historic Preservation, 
Atlanta, GA 

Sam Cunningham, Moab, UT 

Sun Advocate, Price, UT 

Sam Cunningham, Moab, UT 

David Olsen, City of Moab, UT 

Supon Design Group, 
Washington, DC 

James R. Lockhart, Ga. Dept. 
of Natural Resources 

James R. Lockhart, Ga. Dept. 
of Natural Resources 

Supon Design Group, 
Washington, DC 

Larry Rupp, Utah State 
University Extension, Logan, 
UT 

Larry Rupp, Utah State 
University Extension 

Ed Leland, Lakewood, CO 

Ed Leland, Lakewood, CO 

Larry Rupp, Utah State 
University Extension 

Utah State University Press, 
Logan, UT 

Iowa School for the Deaf, 
Council Bluffs, lA 

Supon Design Group, 
Washington, DC 



44 



The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits 
discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national 
origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs and marital or 
familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for com- 
munication of program information (Braille, large print, audio- 
tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications 
at (202) 720-5881 (voice) or (202) 720-7808 (TDD). 

To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, 20250, or call 
(202) 720-1127 (voice) or (202) 690-1538 (TDD). USDA is an 
equal employment opportunity employer. 



November 1995