A Vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region Recognizing a Global Resource Winner

Regional & Urban Design Award, Special Recognition

The design firm is calling on the bi-national region of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to plan for the future of this global resource.
The planet’s largest fresh-water reservoir needs a vision to protect and nurture it.
The call is for a 100-year commitment at a Burnham-big-plan scale: to devise strategies to improve every aspect of life in the region.
This vast natural resource holds 21 percent of the world’s fresh water and 84 percent of North America’s.
Around its 11,000-mile shoreline live 50 million people generating a GDP of $2 trillion plus.
The firm calls for a regional sense of identity defined by these waters.
This “cradle of the carbon economy” has developed serious problems during its development.
But the 100-year vision is an optimistic view of opportunity and growth, of cities and nature, of great minds devising new forms of energy, of economic and agricultural reinvention, and locally sustained quality of life.
Using the graphic vocabulary of architecture and planning, this firm’s pro bono initiative has made a compelling case for regional solidarity and innovative action, and has won praise and endorsement on both sides of the border and by 73 Canadian and American mayors.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
SOM partnership with the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Chicago, Illinois