World Garden Commons

Explore Rabanus Park

The World Garden Commons site is located within Rabanus Park, adjacent to the Schlossman YMCA and a quarter mile from the West Acres Mall in Fargo, ND. Nestled in between both residential and commercial property, Rabanus Park hosts many amenities including several volleyball courts, walking trails, a warming hut, a community garden and a large storm water basin. Select the icons within the map to read more about planned features within the World Garden Commons stormwater basin.

The Storm Water Basin

Located in the northeast corner of Rabanus Park, is a storm water basin with a footprint of approximately 18 acres. The contributing drainage area to the basin includes West Acres Mall and the commercial/retail properties located east of 45th St, between 13th Ave. S. and Interstate 94. The storm water entering the basin is only stored temporarily.

Up to summer 2015, the site was marked by a large concrete channel conveyed storm water through the basin and ultimately into the storm sewer system located in the northwest corner of the basin. Often, the mowed grass basin is almost completely empty, acting as an unattractive separation in space, causing the community on either side of it to feel “cut-off” from portions of the park and City.




Site Conditions

Use the slider to see how the basin fills from the two inlets. Hover over the Ecological Areas to read more about the plant species and conditions of the areas highlighted.

Design Your Space

Interactive App

Help the Fargo Project design the next neighborhood stormwater basin. Throughout the City of Fargo, large basins collect stormwater to protect traffic and property during rainfall. Often, the basins are dry and seem to have purpose only during precipitation or times of fast snow melt. The goal of the Fargo Project is to make these basins into usable, beautiful places.

Go to the App

Design Process

During the neighborhood engagement phase of The Fargo Project, the local artist team set out to ask individuals within the community, and especially from the neighborhoods surrounding Rabanus Park, what they would like to experience in the new landscape. From activities and discussions, the project team condensed this information into four different aspects which seemed to stand out as important to the community. Ideas emphasized are: more plants, spaces for celebration, spaces to exercise, and an emphasis on the elements.


A recurring theme among community members is the desire for more vegetation in Fargo. Many different ideas such include community gardens, wildflower patches, native plantings, orchards, and wetlands. Ethno botanist Linda Different Cloud visited in late March 2012 to help members of The Fargo Project understand the different ways plantings can be integrated effectively and meaningfully into a storm water basin.


Locally, there is a strong interest in creating more spaces which celebrate culture and an awareness of our diverse community including space for festivals, amphitheater, musical performances, and pathways for relaxation and contemplation.


Part of the design challenge is to create a welcoming environment for summer and winter outdoor activities and favored forms of exercise. For example, safe and inviting pathways for walking and running, designated areas for gardening, sledding and skating. Part of the design challenge is to create spaces used for outdoor activity all year round.

The Elements

Certain features are always present on an outdoor site, thus learning to adjust and embrace those elements help enhance the quality of the site. For example, a shelterbelt helps protect from the wind and a temporary shelter offer protection from the sun. Natural playgrounds and sculpted terracing emphasize the earth. Finally, water is the major catalyst within this project, and design features such as creeks, fountains, and ponds emphasize this element.

Design Principles

Recognizing the vitality of any cultural heritage depends upon the health of the natural world that supports it, it follows that natural ecology is primary, and the humans’ dependent on the ecology is a co-creative. Natural ecology is the largest community circle of which we humans are part.

Let The Water Lead

Create a self-sustaining, hydrologically functioning basin true to the regional ecology and maximize opportunities for the regional prairie landscape to express itself and develop overtime.

Learn From the Natural Environment

Learn how the ecological systems behave, practice responsive adaptive design and adaptive management.

Involve the Community

Make efforts to maximize diverse community participation throughout the life of the project from conception through long-term maintenance.

Experience Nature and Ecology

Create opportunities for people to enjoy the natural environment; the landscape is a unique attraction where people can experience the qualities and ecological relationships of a prairie landscape.