Platte Basin Parkway Project

May 12, 2021

For this studio, I was asked to design a transit corridor in downtown Lincoln that minimizes reliance on the automobile while supporting sustainable modes of transportation. Operating within the belief that sustainable settlements must accommodate the needs of survival, purpose, ecology, and heritage the Platte Basin Parkway Project integrates these factors by connecting people to place. That place might be where they live or work, where they eat or exercise, or it could be where they connect with nature and history. This project goes deeper than the design of a transit corridor, it connects residents to the history of their water and the foundation of Nebraska’s ecosystems and societies. As the user moves across the site they are taken on a journey across our watershed, traveling from Colorado’s alpine lakes to Eastern Nebraska’s saline wetlands and tallgrass prairies. The story of our water is told through interactive landscapes, visible water infrastructure, and curated references to the educational journalism featured on the Platte Basin Timelapse website. Just by traveling one transit corridor in Lincoln, Nebraska the user can learn about our watershed, smart water management strategies, and they can experience the beauty of Nebraska’s native plant palettes. Not only does this project connect us to where we are going, but it connects us to our place, Nebraska.

To view the full project CLICK HERE

A walkthrough of the Platte Basin Parkway Project, experience the various landscapes and water management practices found across our watershed.

Mapping out how these watershed concepts can be designed into landscape experiences along the transit mall.

Illustrating how stormwater is collected, treated, and re-used on site.

As this is the starting point for this story, a map of our watershed is stamped into the concrete, illustrating the 900-mile journey our water undergoes before coalescing with the Missouri River. An interactive water feature is also found on this block, initiating the conversation on water management and mirroring the Wyoming dam infrastructure that ensures farmer’s livelihoods in the western portions of our state.

A large clean water cistern pumps water to the canals and to the planting beds. These water canals mimic the irrigation ditches found in agricultural fields across the state.

Capturing the playful beauty of the Sandhills, these mounds act as both a playground and a resting space along the parkway that connects to the various programming around it.

The braided sandbars of the Platte River, formed and reshaped by ice jams and floods, have created the perfect habitat for migrating birds on their spring stopover during their migration north. This block celebrates that habitat while showcasing an origami crane installation. Thirteen thousand white aluminum cranes hang from the corten steel overhead frame, which supports a boardwalk across the wet meadow habitat.

Saline wetlands clean and treat water, improving water quality. They increase groundwater recharge and they provide flood control which is especially important for the human settlements around these habitats. The rain garden seen here, acts in similar ways, providing flood control and improving water quality of the recycled stormwater on site.

An overview of destinations along the transit corridor which translates to key moments along our watershed.

Through this design, we see elements that would achieve economic goals such as increased visitor spending and decreased vacancy rates, social goals such as increased safety and educational opportunities, as well as many environmental goals; improved air quality, habitat creation for pollinator species, and water conservation through re-use.

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PBT team photo. Summer 2023

About PBT

We are a group of storytellers using timelapse photography and multimedia storytelling to explore watersheds. PBT has been in motion since 2011.

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