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Water|Craft dives into designs for the ecological city

Marc Lefkowitz  |  07/09/10 @ 1:00pm

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative released its latest book in the Urban Infill series, "Water|Craft", and will mark the occasion with a release party on July 14th.

Water|Craft is a collection of essays that looks at urban and regional water issues and new design approaches. The impetus for this volume was the CUDC's experiences in working with the volatile urban situation of Cleveland; a fragile economy, aging infrastructure and damaged ecosystem. Water plays a critical role in revitalization efforts for the region. Water|Craft highlights water-related best practices, particularly about water infrastructure made visible as a form-giver and a design driver. It includes several articles about water-based urban initiatives here in Cleveland, including:

  • The Cleveland Institute of Art biomimicry design approach for creating fish habitats in the Cuyahoga River's shipping channel
  • The design for a stormwater management park on an old railroad line in the Flats West Bank (called the Lake Link Trail)
  • A green infrastructure design for Rockefeller Park that would restore the health of Doan Brook (pictured above)
  • A demonstration project at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo that captures stormwater in native plant rain gardens
  • GreenCityBlueLake Director David Beach's inspirational essay on thinking deeply about water

Water|Craft is a commendable effort to elevate thinking around land-use trends and water quality solutions. Since both are inextricably linked to human behavior, the book offers hope that creative solutions to failures in the system (pollution) are intellectually within our grasp.

For example, a short essay from the CUDC looks at how we might restore natural systems along historic waterways in Cleveland as a vacant land reuse strategy. "It was never a good idea to build on top of water," they assert. "As the city's portfolio of vacant land continues to grow, we can begin to set aside those sites that coincide with buried waterways, assembling a green network one parcel at a time."

In another, BioCellars are introduced as a process that reuses the foundations of demolished homes as hydroponic growth cells or greenhouses for new urban agriculture ventures.

As Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Director Julius Ciaccia writes in the forward: "We need to restore the stormwater management function of the landscape-not an easy task, but site control of stormwater is essential for a healthy environment and a healthy community."

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Discover one of Northeast Ohio's best kept secrets: fine furniture. The burgeoning District of Design also celebrates an opening on July 14-15 for the Cleveland Furniture and Millwork Fair. Hand-crafted furniture from 30 small Amish furniture and millwork manufacturers from nearby Holmes County (one of the largest producers in this arena) and the work of artisan woodworkers from Cleveland will be on display. Seminars on design techniques and sustainability will be led by Cleveland Institute of Art and A Piece of Cleveland.

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