Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways

Jeanne Gang




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A crisis becomes the catalyst to explore how the complex challenges facing Chicago’s waterways can generate the revolutionary rebirth of its riverfront.

The result of a yearlong collaboration between Studio Gang, NRDC, and students from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Reverse Effect was sparked by NRDC’s 2010 report calling for a barrier in the Chicago River’s South Branch to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi Watersheds and thereby prevent invasive carp from entering Lake Michigan. Investigating how dividing the river could also connect and recharge surrounding neighborhoods led Studio Gang to discover exciting new possibilities for the city they call home.

Reverse Effect is meant to become a tool that can empower a new generation of Chicagoans—from architects and designers to policymakers, advocates, and everyday citizens—to reimagine and reshape the river's future together, as well as a road map for the nation’s broader river renaissance.

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