Working Within Nested Scales.
Project versus Practice.
Most work in the built environment is defined by projects. A paying client’s ownership boundaries determine the project until contract terms are met; a result of land parcelization, commodification, and owned liability.
Emerging Terrain’s first self-initiated “project,” Stored Potential, quickly taught us that boundaries continually shift in responsive, or proactive, practice. Our “clients” are collaborators towards a larger vision rather than purchasers of a service. Our research connects multiple scales of inquiry, exposing where we need to act next. We know we are on the right track when one initiative leads to another at different scale. We like this way of operating because it reflects how landscape functions, regardless of legal boundaries inscribed on them by humans.
Intercepting excess with public parks. Fifteen thousand years ago, the final surge of a giant sheet of glacial ice heaved into North America. It moved at record speed, carrying rich, black sediment and leveling the land flat and easy to till. These...
Diversifying the post-agrarian landscape. The monarch butterfly population has decreased by 90% in the last 20 years. Their decline is caused by land use and management decisions on both ends of the butterfly’s annual migration route. In Mexico, logging has...
Investigating the relationships among people, land, ownership, and development at the city’s edge. Shifting Thresholds was a multi-faceted approach to understanding the unique landscapes comprising the suburban/ rural edges in the Great Plains. With few natural boundaries (mountains, ocean, forests, etc.)...
Realigning a Region
Exploring inherent potential in Omaha’s Belt Line. The Belt Line connected early Omaha’s centers of industry. Its removal thirty years ago signified a turn away from the city and contributed to crisis in many of the neighborhoods surrounding it....
Critiquing contemporary urbanism through obsoletion. Stored Potential began as a desire to do something with a grain elevator that had become visual white noise to 76,000 daily passing commuters on I-80. After interstate expansion removed a direct off-ramp, it became...
Elevating Perspective and Collaboration. We learned with the Harvest Dinner that large-scale, site-specific, community focused events are great for community development. If done right, they can focus on developing new collaborations, reinterpreting a place, and expanding the potentials a community. Whereas the Harvest Dinner forged...
Performing at the scale of infrastructure. While preparing to install 20×80-foot banners on a grain elevator for Stored Potential, we quickly became familiar with the adjacent abandoned rail track, a vestige of the industrial networks once supporting the grain...
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...