Small Towns, Big Impact

Curated by Landscape Architecture Foundation

Exemplary design isn’t just found in big cities. Many landscape solutions can address the unique challenges facing small towns such as population decrease, declining downtowns, reliance on automobiles for transit, and loss of community character. Small cities and towns throughout the United States are developing innovative responses to all of these challenges through landscape architecture. This collection features exemplary projects in towns and cities with fewer than 100,000 residents that are bringing high-performing projects to small-town America.  

  1. Case Study Brief

    Uptown Normal Circle and Streetscape

    Normal, Illinois

    “This newly activated space serves a "town green" for Normal, Illinois, a city of under 60,000 people that was experiencing issues with traffic and a declining downtown. The new traffic circle and park with integrated stormwater infrastructure and plenty of gathering space helps to activate the downtown and provides safer pedestrian and traffic circulation. ”
  2. Case Study Brief

    Blue Hole-After

    Blue Hole Regional Park

    Wimberley, Texas

    “Interest in how this park was performing caused the design team to conduct a post-occupancy user survey to gauge perceptions of the design improvements. The team did not conduct a pre-construction user survey, but now understands the importance of capturing baseline conditions, as well as the need to develop replicable survey protocols to administer at regular intervals to measure long-term social performance.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    Sioux Falls Downtown River Greenway

    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

    “Many small cities are defined by their water bodies, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota is no exception. The Downtown River Greenway along the Sioux River encourages bike and kayak usage to provide access to the natural beauty of the river for residents. ”
  4. Case Study Brief

    Park US 50-After

    Park Avenue/US 50, Phase 1 Redevelopment

    South Lake Tahoe, California

    “This redevelopment had the goal of no net loss in scenic views of the nearby Lake Tahoe Basin and Carson mountain range -- a performance benefit that is easy to claim but hard to prove. The case study Methods document explains how the total visible area of the natural environment was compared pre- and post-construction, and how the improved scenic quality of the roadway was evaluated using a regional Travel Route Rating system.”
  5. Case Study Brief

    Wayne Ferguson_After

    Wayne Ferguson Plaza

    Lewisville, Texas

    “Although close to Dallas, Texas, "Old Town" Lewisville boasts its own small-town identity that is reflected in Wayne Ferguson Plaza's iconic town square design. As the town competes for new residents with other towns in the Dallas metro area, the square makes Lewisville stand out by highlighting the history of the area and promoting community in this historic Dallas suburb. ”
  6. Case Study Brief

    Main Street Square

    Rapid City, South Dakota

    “This design for the central square of Rapid City, South Dakota heavily draws on the city's rural Black Hills context with its artistic installations and materials. The square has become a popular place for outdoor events, concerts, local art, and other activities, all programmed by a local nonprofit that seeks to make downtown Rapid City a lively destination for locals and visitors. ”

Green communities

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