NU Interior Design Students Create Projects To Attract Creative Class Throughout Rural Nebraska

UNL Architecture students focused their studio projects on rural communities across Nebraska, including: Plattsmouth, Ord, Valentine, Cozad, Memphis, Firth, Brownville, Hickman, Filley, Stapleton, Ogallala, Holdrege, Franklin, Kimball, Brule, Gibbon, Pender and Johnson Lake.

Chuck Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI), helped 26 College of Architecture students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with their spring 2018 studio projects aimed at rural places.

Each student developed an interior design proposal focused on investing in a rural community and using interior design to attract the creative class in the rural areas of Nebraska and beyond. The students, led by Interior Design Lecturer Stacy Spale, examined rural Nebraska communities and typologies, as well as underutilized spaces across the state.

With Chuck’s help, the students researched opportunities for interior design in rural communities across Nebraska. The students were then challenged to investigate the creative class and discover what relationships and opportunities between this demographic and rural areas. Through problem-based exploration, students positioned the interior built environment with informed inquiry and answered the question of how designers can reactivate abandoned, rural space typologies to either generate or attract the creative class. Several of their projects are featured below.


The Ogallala Collective

Amanda VanBuren | Ogallala, Neb.

Studio 446

Madeline Payne | Plattsmouth, Neb.

District 160

Taylor Johnson | Firth, Neb.

The Beyond

Megan Jespersen | Memphis, Neb.

Kreativ Hub

Mackenzie Klein | Cozad, Neb.

Experiential Ed

Megan Warbalow | I-80, Neb.

Creator’s Campus

Savannah Scoville | Pender, Neb.

“As we prepare our students to become 21st century leaders who can solve complex problems between people and space, we decided to take a different teaching approach.”

-Stacy Spale


Spale and Mackenzie Klein, one of the students involved with studio, joined Chuck for an episode of Catch Up With Chuck to discuss the opportunities for design to invest in a community, attract specific demographics and revitalize rural areas.

If you would like to see your community’s project and it is not featured, please contact