Planting a forest in one of America's dirtiest cities
Could this proposal to bring an arboreal landscape into the centre of Cleveland help fix the city's problems?
Meaghan Kombol’s 30:30 Landscape Architecture is an excellent showcase of global projects designed to improve the quality of all our lives and meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. Some of the projects featured are fully realised; others, such as Christopher Marcinkoski’s Re-Cultivating The Forest City in Cleveland, Ohio, are at the proposal stage.
The aim of this project is to “reclaim and re-imagine the entirety of the lower Cuyahoga Valley”. Back in 1969, the river found fame, and indeed infamy, when a stretch caught fire, due to an oil slick caused by a build up of years of industrial pollution. The image of the blazing river became iconic, a modern symbol of toxicity and ecological disaster.
Marcinkoski’s 2013 proposals seek to transform the river area into a latter-day ecological paradigm that would serve as a centrepiece for Cleveland. Featuring a steel bridge that recalls the city’s industrial traditions, it also boasts a walkway, modern working spaces and an extensive carpet of tree-lined greenery. It is intended as a “working landscape” rather than a bland heritage site or city park, re-energising a city once considered synonymous with post-industrial decline.
With his Chicago-based firm PORT, Marcinkoski and his colleagues seek to implement “new forms of collective urban space”. However, PORT also strive to go beyond what they as landscape architecture’s “singular infatuation” with environmental ecology. Their challenge to others in their profession is to expand their horizons to take in political, economic and cultural considerations.
This involves an open-minded attitude to each of their projects, exploring the individual potentials of the areas in which they work, rather than imposing their own, dogmatic vision. Their method has been described as “productive colonisation”. It remains to be seen whether the imaginative challenge they set will be met and their daring visions put into effect.
We hope you've enjoyed this brief insight into our new book. You can pre-order your copy of 30:30 Landscape Architecture here, and find out more about the title here.