Sweet Water Seas: From Shorelines to Storylines

September 13

Fresh Water: Design Thinking for Inland Water Territories is an interdisciplinary design symposium addressing regional, territorial, and continental water issues across inland North America. The geographic contexts and intellectual sites for the symposium—the major inland (non-coastal) watersheds of the Mississippi, the Great Lakes Basin, St. Lawrence, and the Nelson riversheds—remain under-explored in design research. The conference is hosted by the University of Illinois Department of Landscape Architecture.

Water is not contained in lines; rather it comprises a vast spatiotemporal field. Yet for over a century, modern control of water has turned away from the fundamental principles of hydrology, geology, and human geography of water terrains, leading to false readings of sites as separate from their hydrological context. Large-scale urban, industrial, and infrastructural manipulations of water bodies, systems, and flows have constrained human-hydro relationships; critical questions now emerge about how to reverse the social and ecological deterioration within continental freshwater systems.

This was the opening keynote lecture for the Freshwater Symposium FRESH WATER | September 13-15, 2018 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign