Author Archive for Rural Learning Center


Visioning Works Both Ways

Below is a letter written to a number of newspaper editors in South Dakota by design:SD team member Sandy Dickenson of Vermillion, SD.  Hope you enjoy it:

I recently had an opportunity to be a volunteer on the first “design:South Dakota” team. The team consisted of architects, engineers, planners and rural developers and was the result of collaboration between the Rural Learning Center, the South Dakota Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and others.  The community selected was Corsica, SD, population about 650.  The team of twelve spent nearly three days in Corsica living with host families.  We learned about the community one day, drew up visioning ideas the second day, presenting them to the community the third.  I think the townspeople were very pleased with the results.

The most surprising part of the exercise was what I learned.  I am unarguably citified but have spent a fair amount of time visiting many of the communities in South Dakota.  I thought I knew this state pretty well…….boy, was I wrong!  My vision of rural South Dakota was completely blown away.  Here’s what I learned: Continue reading ‘Visioning Works Both Ways’


Team Says Good Bye to Corsica (for now)

The “Original” d:SD Team (pictured l to r, back row first): Alan Wieskamp, Scott Anderson, Joe Bartmann, Eric Ambroson, Lindsey Karlson, Tom Reasoner, Sandy Dickenson and Jim Beddow. Not pictured: Mike Knutson, Terry Aaker and John Deppe.

We did it! We wrapped up the first ever design:SD charrette on Saturday May 19 with a presentation of 16 concept boards to the Corsica regional community. Take a look below:

We have a lot of sweat equity into these boards. Eleven team members spent two and a half days (and much of a couple nights) learning, sketching, designing and illustrating ideas and options for the future based on the many visions of the folks in the Corsica region.

beddow-at-the-wall-5-19-2007.jpg eric-at-the-wall.jpg

Lots of local people put in tons of time and effort too. It was truly a mixing bowl, and an experience many of us will not forget. We’ll laminate the boards and put together a summary document for the Corsica community. We’ll be sure to get the edited copies of the presentation video (thanks Evan) to the community too.


Announcing the Design South Dakota Project


The event. Design South Dakota is a new way to help rural communities create a better future by design. In May, 2007, a team of design and community development professionals will spend four intense days (called a design “charrette”) working with the people in the Corsica region to gather and illustrate local ideas. The event will help to build a shared vision for the future, and to demonstrate ways to turn those ideas into reality in the Corsica regional community.

Corsica will become the first ever Design South Dakota community. The event will be talked about all over the state, as we help celebrate 150 years of the American Institute of Architects, and Corsica’s history and future by design.

The team. 20-30 professionals from all walks of design and community development will come to Corsica to work on the design:SD team. These volunteers from all over our state care about rural places and the future of our state’s small communities. They will work long and hard together for four days to help the people of Corsica think about and design the future.

And you. The focus of the four-day event will be ideas from local people. The design:SD team will listen to and interact frequently with local folks during the “charrette.” They will build and illustrate ideas as they go, and make changes along the way based on local input. The event will help the Corsica region to dream about the future, and recognize how important design is to that future. A charrette can bring the people of the region together and energize them toward a shared vision–a better way to see their community.

design:SD is sponsored by AIA South Dakota and The Rural Learning Center, and locally by Planning Development District III and the Corsica Commercial Club.

The organizers of the design:SD project are forever grateful to the members of the Minnesota Design Team for their support and encouragement.