Up a Sewage-Laden River Without a Paddle: The Role of the Architect as an Integrator
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The city of Cleveland is investing $3 billion over the next 25 years in order to address their failing storm-water management infrastructure. Over 98% of their current plan involves the implementation of gray infrastructure in the form of massive underground storage tunnels running underneath the city. I believe there is a greater opportunity to design solutions that incorporates the volumetric capacity of gray infrastructure while also providing green public amenities, where residents of the city could begin to understand and become better integrated with their own hydrological processes, as well as begin to address ecological concerns of the city such as poor air and water quality, decreasing tree canopy, urban heat stress, ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. The architect can play a unique role in helping Cleveland address its storm-water management issues by becoming an integrator of ideas and creating connections that individual professions can’t see.