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Phil Enquist Honored for Conservation Leadership

Photo © SOM

Chicago, IL: Chicago-based metropolitan conservation organization Openlands presented their 2012 Conservation Leadership Award to Philip Enquist, FAIA, Partner in Charge of Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)’s global City Design Practice at their annual luncheon on October 25, 2012. The award recognizes Enquist’s substantial impact on the sustainability of cities worldwide, including his commitment to conservation in Chicago and the Great Lakes region. Half the earth’s population now lives in cities according to the United Nations and the global rate of urbanization is unprecedented. Without thoughtful design, cities can become overcrowded, dirty, inhumane places. Enquist envisions a hopeful future, where cities are compact, prosperous centers of cultural and economic life. These livable, smarter cities will be walkable, transit-oriented and provide their citizens and visitors with abundant green space. “Sustainable design is not simply about making sure that cities are energy and water efficient,” Enquist says. “Urban design must protect and enhance our ecological assets.” In just this past year, the Enquist-led SOM City Design Practice has worked in over 25 cities on four continents. In emerging cities from China to Turkey, Enquist’s work reverses unsustainable development trends, balancing urban development — a necessity for dynamic populations — with the preservation and creation of natural areas. Enquist’s environmental stewardship is further evident in cities where his designs reestablish green public waterfronts, such as in Wuxi, Nanjing and Guanzhou, China and Panama City. While the design of urban areas has great effect, Enquist believes it is imperative to drive conservation at even larger scales. The Great Lakes Century is a four-year pro-bono project to create a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. The project outlines strategies for cities, mobility and clean energy and proposes the first “international park” to celebrate this vast but vulnerable watershed. In Chicago, Enquist is putting these strategies into practice with Chicago Lakeside, a mixed-use development by McCaffery Interests that will transform the site of a former steel mill into a sustainable urban community. The 600-acre project will extend Chicago’s public lakefront, advancing Daniel Burnham’s vision of a continuous public park. The redevelopment will create access to Lake Michigan with a network of green streetscapes, small and large parks, and a bird sanctuary with native plantings. In August, Chicago Lakeside joined the state’s Millennium Reserve, an initiative that connects green spaces across the Calumet Region of southern Chicago and Northwest Indiana. "Green space at all scales is an essential component of vibrant and healthy communities,” Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann says. “Phil Enquist understands this on both a personal and professional level. He has been a longtime supporter of Openlands, serving on our board and as a tireless advocate of our work. The contribution his work has made to the quality of life in our region is inspiring, matched only by his vision of what our region, our nation, and our world could be.”

About SOM’s City Design Practice Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the world's leading architecture, urban design, engineering, and interior architecture firms. SOM’s global City Design Practice advances bold ideas for the future of cities, creating sustainable, livable and resilient places on five continents. The City Design Practice — the most highly awarded urban planning group — has completed some of the largest and most complex urban development projects in the world, such as the Beijing CBD East Expansion and Canary Wharf in London. Major projects in Chicago include the Chicago Central Area Plan, Millennium Park Master Plan, Lakeshore East Master Plan, and Chicago Riverwalk Framework Plan. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi. About Openlands Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation's oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, visit About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm has been honored with more than 1,400 awards for quality, innovation,and management. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Brussels, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.