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September 07, 2010
CIA student designs to restore the Cuyahoga River's ecology are included in water|craft, a new book published by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.
Not long ago, the Cuyahoga River was one of the unhealthiest waterways in the country—capturing national attention when it infamously caught fire in 1969. But over the years local efforts have worked steadfastly to revitalize the urban shipping channel.
One of these efforts is the Green Bulkheads project, which seeks to bring aquatic life back to the lower Cuyahoga River. Last year, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission invited Cleveland Institute of Art students to rethink and redesign the bulkheads in the river so they would better serve as habitats for the fish population.
Led by Doug Paige, Associate Professor in Industrial Design and the Steward for Sustainability at CIA, students from the departments of industrial design and communication design collaborated on the project. They followed the principles of biomimicry: a design practice which looks to nature for inspiration.
Through research and design, the industrial designers figured out ways that the bulkhead and the shipping channel could better sustain and encourage aquatic life. Meanwhile, the communication designers created a media campaign to generate interest and awareness around the sustainable solutions, and to share information about the history and current state of the river and water system.
The result? These smart, sustainable solutions became part of the Green Bulkheads project. Professor Doug Paige and student Jen Duda ’10 collaborated with environmentalist Jennifer Hillman on a chapter about the project for the new book, Urban Infill Volume 3:water|craft. Published by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, water|craft is a collection of essays that look at urban and regional water issues and new design approaches.
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