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Download a PDF of the Envisioning Regional Design executive summary here.

Download a PDF of the 34-page Envisioning Regional Design report here.

View a slide show of the Envisioning Regional Design charrettes. CLICK HERE

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Envisioning Regional Design

The population of the Metroplex area, defined within a sixty-mile radius of Omaha, is projected to double to more than 2 million by 2050, creating unprecedented environmental and economic challenges that will shape the quality of life for more than 120 urban and rural communities.

By far the most intense growth pressures will be on communities, farms and environmental systems near the I-80 corridor between Omaha and Lincoln. Projections show that as many as 230,000 commuters will travel daily into Douglas and Sarpy counties by 2050, creating unprecedented infrastructure and environmental challenges.

Through a repetitive regional dialogue facilitated by the Nebraska/Iowa Metroplex Conference (N/IMC), urban, suburban and rural communities began discussions based on the growth challenges identified in the Flatwater Report. They examined public policy and governance decisions that encourage sustainable growth, including ways and means to enact the Flatwater Report’s recommendations.

Throughout its three-year operation N/IMIC brought together participants from all walks of life to craft a regional vision for sustainable growth. In addition to monthly meetings by the N/IMIC steering committee, quarterly public forums were conducted on a number of pressing growth issues including water quality and quantity, transportation planning, and land conversion and conservation. A special forum in the spring of 2006 brought together small town mayors and city managers and planners from Ashland, Waverly, Gretna and Blair to discuss the impact of metropolitan and I-80 corridor growth on their communities. Another public forum on the Pflug road development near the Platte River drew standing room only crowds at Mahoney State Park.

A signal event in the three-year N/IMIC process occurred in the fall of 2006 with the two-day Envisioning Regional Design Conference at the Stategic Air & Space Museum near Ashland. With the support of the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, the Joslyn Institute forged a partnership with the American Institute of Architects and the Nebraska Innovation Zone Commission to stage this unique multi-charrette exercise.

Envisioning Regional Design Charrettes

Envisioning Regional Design (ERD) describes an ongoing initiative created to address regional growth issues identified by the N/IMIC process. N/IMIC’s diverse membership comprised the core of ERD, which was kicked off in September 2006 with two-conference, one of which featured six charrette teams. The teams, each led by a facilitator with graphic assistance from professional and student architects, were arranged throughout the Strategic Air & Space Museum’s cavernous restoration hanger. Noted regional planner George Crandall of Crandall Arambula (Portland, Oregon) and W. Cecil Steward, President of the Joslyn Institute and ERD director, were co-leaders of the event.

Envisioning Regional Design: The Flatwater Metroplex brought together more than 150 architects, planners and stakeholders at the SAC Museum to craft a vision for the rapidly growing Metroplex region. (You can read more the working and final reports from the conference by clicking on the links in the left-hand column>. )

Results of the 2007 charrette were presented by noted planner George M. Crandall, FAIA, at the opening of the AIA Central States Conference at the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha. The Five Domains concept provided the platform for comprehensive analysis of the six scenarios outlined below.



Downtown Urban Core Center, Lincoln’s Antelope Valley to P St.
The central focus of this charrette will be the P Street corridor linking the Haymarket District to the Antelope Valley Parkway. What conditions and attributes will successfully transform P Street into the downtown’s primary retail streetscape maximizing retail, housing, and employment opportunities; integrating and enhancing transportation options; and enriching economic, social, and cultural foundations?
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Communities in the Path of Growth, Ashland
By 2050 it is estimated that as many as 250,000 commuters will travel from other counties to jobs in Douglas and Sarpy counties alone, leaving many outlying communities struggling to keep up with housing demands and infrastructure costs while coping with the loss of community and culture, farmland, and historic and natural areas. This charrette examines how a small I-80 community can address challenges and opportunities.
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I-80 Corridor Environs
This charrette examines how this 50-mile, six-lane corridor linking Nebraska’s two largest cities will determine future quality of life for Metroplex communities and ecosystems. Special focus was given to interchanges at exits 420 (Greenwood exit) and 426 (Ashland, Mahoney Park and SAC Museum exit) and to a new interchange at Pflug Road in soutwestern Sarpy County.
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Suburban Conservation Community, Rural Bennington
This charrette explores alternatives to the typical pattern of suburban and acreage development occuring on rural lands near the Omaha metro. Examine how rural lands can offer affordable, sustainable living environments that protect river corridors, natural water sheds and water resources while creating or protecting natural habitat for indigenous wildlife and conserving valuable productive land for continued farming.
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Near Urban Core Neighborhood, Omaha’s Drake Court District
Examine how the revitalization of a historic four-block, inner city housing project can spark tranformation of the surrounding neighborhood into a vibrant downtown community. This charrette explores opportunities and attributes for sustainable development through the blending of mixed uses, mixed income, and revitalized commercial and housing accommodations.
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Transformation of Regional Shopping Mall, Fremont
Underutilized malls and big box stores litter the American landscape. More than half billion square feet of retail space sits empty. These places are often underutilized because they are oriented only to cars and are cut off from neighborhoods by high-speed, multi-lane roads. This charrette examines how a 40-year-old Fremont shopping mall could be transformed and revitalized into a transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly neghborhood center.
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The Envisioning Regional Design charrette exercise and subsequent reports and activities were lauded by the national office of the American Institute of Architects and incorporated into their Blueprint for America, the primary program of AIA150 that marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the AIA. The Blueprint program was created to offer citizens in communities across America an opportunity to celebrate their community heritage, address emerging architectural challenges and trends, and find their voices to help make their vision real for beautiful, safe, and livable communities. Results of Envisioning Regional Design were also published by AIA on a searchable geographic database in cooperation with Google Earth.