SOM

SOM

Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin

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A BOLD REGIONAL VISION

"Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin” presents a 100-year vision to guide planning and development in the international watershed of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Gulf of St. Lawrence — a watershed we call the Great Basin. SOM produced the exhibition in partnership with the International Secretariat for Water and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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A COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVE

The exhibition builds upon SOM’s ongoing pro bono initiative, begun in 2009, to develop a 100-year vision for the region in collaboration with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The plan has garnered awards from the American Institute of Architects, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the American Society of Landscape Architects, among others.

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OUR CHALLENGE

“Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin” engages the public with the vastness and vulnerability of the earth’s largest surface freshwater resource, which spans from Duluth, Minnesota, to the Atlantic Ocean.

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OUR VISION

The show depicts the Great Basin as one region defined by the watershed rather than by political boundaries, and it illustrates a vision for the region as an international park that encompasses culturally rich urban and rural areas.

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OUR ACTIONS

The health of the watershed and the vitality of its cities are inextricably linked. Asking what basin cities can learn from each other, the exhibition highlights initiatives across the region that enhance quality of life and exemplify the 21st century design vision.

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A CALL TO RALLY AS ONE

“Water is the key to shared prosperity and this goal demands that all Basiners — whether from cities, the countryside, or distant communities — work together toward managing it in an integrated and participatory way,” says collaborator Raymond Jost of the Montréal-based International Secretariat for Water.

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THE VISION IN CHICAGO

Incorporating a 3D model of Chicago, the show allows visitors to explore local initiatives that reflect the principles of the design vision.

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OPEN DAILY TO THE PUBLIC

“Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin” is on display from October 2013 to March 2014 in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Atrium Gallery at 224 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Learn more about the Great Lakes Century Vision Plan.