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Posts from — October 2011

The Atlantic features SOM effort in recent article “A Regional Vision for the Great Lakes”

A Regional Vision for the Great Lakes

By: NATE BERG for The Atlantic

Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

There’s a shirt you’ll see people wearing every once in a while in Detroit, or Chicago, or Milwaukee. It’s a local pride sort of thing, but less touristy than those “I Heart NY” shirts and not quite as macho as “Don’t Mess with Texas.” It’s simple and speaks more directly to Detroit and Chicago and Milwaukee and all their neighbors. It’s just the outline of the Great Lakes. No cities, no states, no nations, no borders. Just the lakes.

The implication is that the lakes themselves are what define the region, not the various cities, states and countries that rely upon them. It’s not a new idea, but one that’s complicated by the reality that these lakes are surrounded by more than 15,000 individual jurisdictions and governmental entities.

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October 18, 2011   Comments Off

Architectural firm creates ‘exciting vision’ for Great Lakes

Original article by Dylan Kristy, The Vancouver Sun

Friday, Oct. 07, 2011

WINDSOR, Ont. — An architectural firm that has designed some of the world’s greatest buildings is setting its sights on the Great Lakes.

This week, the greenest and brightest minds from both sides of the border will come together for a weeklong discussion focusing on the many problems facing the Great Lakes. And front and centre will be Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm that built the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower in Chicago and the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building on the planet at 828 metres.

The firm is now focusing its attention on creating a bi-national vision to turn the states and provinces surrounding the Great Lakes into an economic and environmental powerhouse, with the lakes as its nucleus.

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October 13, 2011   Comments Off

Toronto Greenbuild Conference Summary

Talking with professionals from around the world at the GreenBuild conference recently in Toronto, it is clear that the Vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence has generated significant interest from people who understand the importance of freshwater management.  The demands from the greater use of the resource, along with the stresses resulting from increased urbanization and industrialization, will make the situation even more challenging as time goes on.  This makes it all the more important that champions of the Vision as a whole and all of its elements step forward with ideas about how we can make this Region one of the most vibrant and appealing on the planet, in terms of economic well-being and quality of life.  We must also look for ways to take this message out to the broader public in the United States and Canada to make sure they are aware of the thinking that has gone into the Vision, and even more importantly, to get their ideas on how it should be shaped and carried forward.

October 10, 2011   Comments Off

Great Lakes Proposal Envisions Canadians, Americans Working Together

Original article by Renata D’Alieso, The Globe and Mail

Friday, Oct. 07, 2011

A U.S. architectural firm best known for creating some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world has turned its creative eye to the Great Lakes, advocating for a new economic and environmental vision that spans borders.

The bi-national blueprint from Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill is still in its infancy, but the concept has garnered support from several mayors in Canada and the United States. The proposal calls on the two nations to re-imagine the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region as a shared space, where Canadians and Americans work together to protect waterways, ease traffic congestion, promote tourism and develop new economic ventures.

“This isn’t a collection of lakes that divides two countries. This is a collection of lakes that should unite two countries,” said Philip Enquist, one of the firm’s senior urban designers.

The bi-national vision, presented this week at a global green-building conference in Toronto, isn’t so far-fetched. The Brookings Institution in Washington and Mowat Centre in Toronto have been studying the idea, consulting 250 business, government and community leaders. The public-policy think tanks will present their regional blueprint at an international Great Lakes water-quality meeting in Detroit next week.

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October 7, 2011   Comments Off