If Daniel Burnham were alive today, he would recognize the importance of the Great Lakes and the need to protect this unique resource and the cities adjacent to its waters.
By scripting a vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Region, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill hopes to bring the best of urban and environmental practices to the forefront as we celebrate the Centennial of the 1909 Plan of Chicago. This is a region of 105 million people that contains 21 percent of the world’s, and 84 percent of North America’s, fresh water. Living on an increasingly urbanized planet, it is critical that cities act sustainably and that the natural resources that surround us be protected.
We are calling for a global dialogue between scientists, scholars, urban designers, advocates, writers, politicians, students and residents. This vision addresses sprawling development, congestion, urban runoff, agricultural runoff, power generation, invasive species and the challenge of multiple jurisdictions. Seven fluid ideas are emerging around these themes:
- Green Cities and Great Lakes
- Bigger than a National Park
- Great Minds and Great Lakes
- Blue is the New Green
- Tapping Renewable Energy
- Achieving Mobility
- Human Balance with Nature
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SOM is currently engaged in discussions with multiple stakeholders in both the United States and Canada. This work will culminate in the Vision Plan later in 2009.