Growing Water: Rethinking the Design of Infrastructure

Innovation Roundtable

March 2, 2010: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The Growing Water project addresses a report from the United Nations that two out of every three people in the world will be facing water shortages by 2025, a situation that will inevitably lead to global conflict.


Gleacher Center
Room 100
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

While the United States is by and large considered to have adequate water resources, water scarcity and droughts occur regularly throughout the country. Water shortages are even routinely reported in cities directly adjacent to the Great Lakes, which hold 20% of the Earth’s freshwater and 95% of the freshwater in the U.S. Chicagoans routinely discard, literally “flush down the drain,” two billion gallons of Lake Michigan fresh water per day. This water never replenishes the Great Lakes Basin. As if it had no value, Chicago sends its discarded water down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. To reclaim this resource, the Growing Water project envisions Chicago evolving into a model city for recycling or growing its water by creating a series of approximately fifty “Eco-Boulevards” spread democratically throughout the city. Eco-Boulevards are envisioned as long strips of publicly owned land that are transformed from grey infrastructure (roadways and sidewalks) into green infrastructure that returns water to Lake Michigan. The goal of the Eco-Boulevards is to re-imagine social and ecological space in Chicago while increasing the overall well-being of the Great Lakes ecosystem.


No Charge


Register Online

Deadline: 3/2/2010


6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Registration

6:30 PM-7:45 PM: Presentation and Q&A

7:45 PM-9:00 PM: Midway Club

Speaker Profiles

Sarah Dunn (Speaker)
Co-Founder, UrbanLab, and Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, UrbanLab

Sarah Dunn received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Columbia College, Columbia University, in 1989, and a Master of Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University in 1994. In 1999, Dunn co-founded UrbanLab in Chicago, Illinois. As a research-based architecture and urban design practice, UrbanLab theorizes that infrastructure can be hybridized, thereby leveraging a technically oriented project into one with cultural qualities. It presumes that possibilities for design innovation arise out of the investigation of the various constraints of combining infrastructural and ecological systems with cultural desires. Advancing ideas of infrastructural and ecological urbanism, UrbanLab proposes a hybridization of landscape, city, infrastructure and ecology that attempts to address the issue of contemporary public space and urban architecture. Through different scales and kinds of urban sites, UrbanLab’s projects develop the means or techniques of this hybridization. UrbanLab’s project investigations often start with design at a large scale, extending across landscape and the city. Initiating design at a very large scale and working down to the scale of the project allows for the possibility of knitting the project into the broader cultural/social context and to impact that context with new programmatic hybrids. Dunn is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she has taught architecture design since 1999.


Mary Drotar, `94 


Other Information

Chicago Booth has arranged with the AMC Theater-River East Self parking Garage to provide discounted parking: 300 East Illinois Street (AMC Theater-River East Self Park Garage) $6.00 after 3:00pm Garage: Self Park Facility Payment: Automated; at pay-stations by cash or credit card or upon exit pay by credit card only. To receive discounted rate: There is a card validator at the first floor security desk of the Gleacher Center. The new system for the AMC Theater- River East Self Park Garage is automated. You will only need to insert your parking card in the validator and the new price will be automatically applied. You can validate your parking ticket at any time between your arrival at and departure from the Gleacher Center. When you leave the lot you will be charged for the lower $6.00 fee.