|Infrastructures for Change Symposium 2010
Great Lakes Models
Lake Michigan has been Chicago’s link to the world. A resource simultaneously treasured and plundered, the Lake has served at various times as Chicago’s economic engine and dumping ground, as the place to reclaim land for recreation and transportation, and as a source for fresh water. Since its founding, Chicago has reengineered the shores of Lake Michigan to become the market and hub of the Great Lakes. Today, the Great Lakes form the backbone of one of the largest regional economies in the world. Fresh water has always been essential to Chicago’s health and wealth. As the majority of the world’s population moves into cities across the globe, the need for clean, reliable water sources will dominate socio-political activities throughout the 21st Century.
Chicago has a long history of exporting great ideas to the world, and attracting the world to Chicago to imagine and invent the future. One hundred and one years ago, Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett and the Commercial Club of Chicago envisioned a bold new plan for the Chicago megalopolis. Burnham’s admonition to “make no little plans” resulted in a comprehensive design for the future of a metropolitan region. The 1909 Plan of Chicago provided principles that continue to guide design, planning and development in the Chicago and the Great Lakes region today. The Plan of Chicago was a blueprint for action that resulted in the completion of numerous enduring public projects.
Today’s great challenge is to imagine and invent better designed cities that work with natural systems to conserve energy, and sustain diminishing natural resources. An April 2007 United Nations report predicts that two-thirds of the world's population will face water shortages by 2025 — a situation that will inevitably lead to global conflict and unsustainable migration. Access to clean water is fundamental to our individual and collective health, and unlike oil, water cannot be replaced with any other resource.
Archeworks’ June 3rd Infrastructures for Change symposium – inspired by the 1909 Plan of Chicago – will focus on the design and planning of the next 100 years of Chicago, Lake Michigan, and the built urban environment within the Great Lakes Basin. Infrastructures for Change will initiate a new blueprint for action toward imagining and inventing a 21st Century Great Lakes Model for global city building.
Archeworks’ day-long symposium will be structured around three urban challenges facing Chicago and urban communities everywhere in the 21st Century: shrinking economies, health crises, and ecological security. The symposium will begin with the premise that the problems we face today cannot be solved at the level of thinking that gave rise to them. Our goal is to develop a vision for a Great Lakes Model that will become the most sustainable, resourceful and beautiful metropolis in the world.
About Archeworks’ Infrastructure for Change Symposia Series
Today, substantial new investments in infrastructure are being made nationally, regionally and locally. It is incumbent on designers and planners to conceive and propose alternative recommendations so these investments will increase the livability and sustainability of American cities. Increased spending on infrastructure is good news for both the nation’s economy and our cities; however, if it simply means more of the same 20th Century solutions that have in many cases had devastating social and environmental effects on our built environments, we will experience the same and now foreseen negative consequences. At this crucial juncture at the beginning of the 21st Century, Infrastructures for Change explores key principles underpinning alternative and sustainable cities of the future. We will bring together design practitioners, planners, and theorists, engineers, environmental scientists and ecologists, policy makers, and public health specialists, with the goal of increasing our knowledge of alternative infrastructure solutions to improve the livability and sustainability of the American City. For information on the proceedings of the Nov. 2009 Infrastructures for Change Symposium Link Here and for the METROPOLIS article featuring Infrastructures for Change Link Here.