Practice :: Trugs


Activating streets through experimental modeling.

Trugs were brought to life through a public-private partnership among community stakeholders in the Park East and Columbus Park neighborhoods, the City of Omaha, Emerging Terrain, and the Greater Omaha Chamber.  The first season in 2012 engaged business owners along Leavenworth Street between Interstate 480 and 24th Street to host the uniquely designed planter, platform, seating units in parallel parking spaces. A seasonal project drawing activity to a street that has become a high-speed arterial from the interstate to downtown, the Trugs expanded pedestrian public space, hosted community events throughout the summer, provided a mini lending library for the neighborhood, encouraged the City to re-stripe the corridor from three traffic lanes to two traffic lanes and a bike lane, and cast a vision for a more accommodating street. The project became a prototype for incrementally reconsidering the future of urban streets.

Trug Goals

  • Calm traffic;
  • Create a safe and welcoming pedestrian environment encouraging gathering and interaction;
  • Add plants and trees to a street with few;
  • Promote wellness with an active atmosphere;
  • Stimulate an appreciation for design and the value of vibrant public space, and
  • Initiate a meaningful opportunity for the community to engage in public policy related to economic development and transportation infrastructure.

Design and Construction

The modular Trugs are constructed on sidewalk-height platforms and can be reconfigured for a variety of sites. Although seasonal and temporary, Trugs are built to last. The platforms are constructed with galvanized and painted steel and wood decking and seating surfaces. The wood is “thermally modified” through a heating process to make light, quick-growing wood species moisture- and insect-resistant without chemicals. The seating and planters are comprised of corrugated metal, a common infrastructural material generally used for culverts. The pipe continues to be made the same way for over a century: by hand-feeding each piece into a hydraulic roller. This provides the opportunity for custom-rolled pieces, including partially rolled metal sheets, allowing the looping and ribbon-like design. The modularity and durability allows the Trugs to be used for multiple seasons.


Thank you to Waldinger and Norlock for steel fabrication, Contech for custom corrugated metal rolling, Millard Lumber for the wood, Urban Village for providing construction space, Davis Erection for construction space and installation assistance, Lauritzen Gardens for plants and soil, Kinghorn Gardens for trees, Bozell for logo and website design, Cydney Franklin, Sarah Wernimont, and Jamie Berglund at the Greater Omaha Chamber for a most enjoyable collaboration, Amy Chittenden for endless volunteer hours, and Jaim Hackbart for making it real on your street.