UI Extension Rapid Response Design Team


Professor Stephen Drown, Extension Specialist in Landscape Architecture, led a team of graduate students as they developed design concepts for public space projects in eight rural communities in southern Idaho.  The team’s work included plans for parks, walking trails, and landscaping for a fairgrounds and a community center.

This project builds on university-community relationships developed through the Horizons program, which helped rural communities throughout Idaho develop local leadership skills and create community vision and action plans.  Many communities’ plans involved creating or improving outdoor public spaces, but not all communities had the resources to move forward with those plans.  

The Office of Community Partnerships connected eight of these communities with Drown, and the Idaho Spaces and Places Rapid Response Design Partnership was launched with funding from UI Extension.  Drown and Landscape Architecture graduate students, Lu Ding and Zhen Yu Liu, met with community members several times to learn about each community’s public space needs and visions.  The students interacted with community members to create and refine design concepts before submitting a final design to each community.

Students gained real-world experience developing design concepts and eventually final project designs.  Communities and local Extension educators gained a project design that will allow them to fundraise and write grant proposals to move toward fulfilling their community vision.

This project has many qualities that serve as a model for future work in communities.  The project:

  • built on existing university-community relationships;
  • provided a real benefit for the community;
  • provided hands-on learning opportunities for students;
  • engaged communities throughout the project; and
  • was completed in a timely manner.

For more information about the UI Extension Rapid Response Design Team, please contact Stephen Drown at srdrown@uidaho.edu.


Full project list:


  • Albion – local and regional trail system, Main Street concepts and campus circulation plans
  • Eden and Hazelton –Wilson Lake Reservoir
  • Heyburn – landscape plan for Interstate-84 exit
  • Menan – Menan Community Center, “CO-OP Park,” and Menan Elementary School
  • Ririe – Ririe Memorial Park
  • Roberts – Mustang Center Trail
  • Shoshone – landscape design and 5-year master plan for Lincoln County Fairgrounds