Brush Creek Community Raingarden

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Kansas City, like other urban areas, has an increasing percentage of impermeable surfaces that contribute to flooding and waterway pollution through stormwater runoff. Kansas City Art Institute students designed a large public raingarden as a response to this issue. It utilizes native plants with deep roots that soak up moisture, lessening runoff problems. It also integrates persuasive educational components so visitors understand the garden’s purpose and the basics of water ecology. Students made multiple presentations to secure permission and volunteer support for the project. The garden continues to bring many community groups together.

Julia Cole

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May 30, 2013
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KCAI students and raingarden designers Corrie Vansice and Paul Shortt hard at work on planting day.
KCAI students, faculty, and a host of community donors and volunteers on planting day.
Process drawing to determine plant placement.
An overview of the mature garden.
The lower portion of the garden in bloom.

KCAI students were tasked with creating an innovative public project that improves the community through helping to solve stormwater issues while educating the community about basic ecological principles. Clear communication with the public, donors, advisors, and collaborators was critical to realizing the students' vision.


Kansas City’s first public raingarden is sited in a prominent location known for flooding. It features a wide variety of hardy native plants, recycled granite benches, a brochure dispenser, educational text stones and small take-away stones with poetic ecological messages, allowing the public to spread the garden’s message.