Competition Winners > Kansas State University
Nicodemus National Historic Site
La Barbara James Wigfall, MCRP, Associate Professor in Department of Landscape Architecture / Regional and Community Planning
Landscape Architecture; Interior Architecture; Architecture (Sustainability); Business; Engineering; Journalism; American Ethnic Studies; History; Women's Studies; Agriculture; Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources; Human Ecology; Hospitality Management; Family Studies and Human Services
32, Upper-division undergraduates
The People's Park
The ChallengeNicodemus National Historic Site, in Nicodemus, Kansas, represents the involvement of African Americans in the western expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. In their studio submission, the Kansas State team addressed this landscape's unique cultural and historical challenges. As the oldest and only remaining town west of the Mississippi River established by African Americans following the Civil War, how can this small site, with its five historic structures, better tell the story of the perseverance and continuity of its nation-spanning descendants? And how can new opportunities be developed to cultivate the town's rich heritage?
Studio ApproachKansas State's vision proposes new governmental bodies and economic vehicles by which local peoples can help themselves sustain their community and their park. The approach is grounded in a development strategy that respects the past but also expands current thinking about economic markets, technology, tourism, community needs, land management, and sustainability. Most critical to this expansion is the collaborative relationship between the residents, the National Park Service, and the descendants or heirs who live elsewhere but may retire there. The studio aims to provide a balance between the university’s mission, community necessities, and National Park Service goals.
Key FeaturesUnder Kansas State's proposal, Nicodemus would become part of a network of "Journeys" among other historical enclaves of Kansas. These journeys would in turn be part of a re-classified National Park Service network. The design proposal focuses on increasing site synergy through targeted interventions at Nicodemus, including creative signage, music festivals, added recreational and retail amenities, alternative energy sources, interactive genealogy exhibits, and virtual tours.