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October 7, 2011


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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