The Great Lakes Century – a 100-year Vision

Page Tools

The Great Lakes Century - a 100-year Vision | Notes of Interest

One hundred years ago a city defined its path for the 20th century: Daniel Burnham’s vision for Chicago was broad reaching and influential in the greater context of the Great Lakes throughout the 20th century. This planning vision not only created a set of citywide and regional recommendations but also recognized the significant value of Lake Michigan to the health of Chicago and the economy of the region.

The paramount challenges of our time are reversing the environmental consequences of urban settlements, industries, energy sources, transportation strategies, and agricultural practices, while at the same time reinvigorating or reinventing our economy. The goal of this 100-year vision (with clear actions every decade) is to engender an environmental and economic renewal of the vast ecosystems and the network of cities that surround the world’s largest freshwater resource.

This call for a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region is intended to engage the broader public and its leaders in discussing, defining, and adopting a new strategic perspective. The region holds one-fifth of the world’s freshwater but has no comprehensive strategy for its environmental and economic sustainability. The Great Lakes Century can be a model for how cities should grow, how they produce energy, how they are linked and connected, and how they support their freshwater sources.

Additional Credit

  • Conservation: National Parks Conservation Association
  • Design: Thirst
  • Preservation Efforts: Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Public Policy: The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation

Photo Credit

  • © Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

The Great Lakes Century - a 100-year Vision

Jury Comments

This is a strong environmental vision for an important global natural asset. There is power in the grand scale and how it looks at regional sustainability less in terms of direct environmental protection and more in terms of a transformational shift to a green regional economy catalyzed by high speed rail connectivity.

This is a compelling effort that promotes international coordination around critical issues and necessary thinking if we are ever to address the environmental consequences of regional development. As more global attention is being paid to the scale and issues of the mega-region, this approach to examining the interconnected environmental, social, and design issues across jurisdictions offers a great precedent for practice in the future.

It’s wonderfully responsible that this is being sponsored on this scale and scope. It is a call for larger scale action and vision. These are the issues that architects, planners and urban designers should be focusing on.

More about The Great Lakes Century - a 100-year Vision.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design Jury

  • Mark Shapiro, AIA, Chair
  • Mithun, Inc.
  • Seattle
  • Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Atlanta
  • William A. Gilchrist, FAIA
  • Place Based Planning
  • New Orleans
  • Toni L. Griffin, AIA
  • The City College of New York
  • New York City
  • Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
  • U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
  • Washington, DC

Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy