“The Great Lakes Century – a 100 Year Vision” awarded with National Design Award

National Design Award for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence 100-Year Vision

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has conferred its 2013 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM, one of the world’s leading architecture firms) and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) for their work to create a vision for an international region that contains the largest source of surface fresh water in the world.

Known as “The Great Lakes Century – a 100 Year Vision,” the work highlights the many challenges faced in the region and defines a future that takes full advantage of the water resource in a way that is sustainable in the long term. The 100 Year Vision sets out ideas on many themes such as agriculture, energy, transportation, water, urban areas, higher education, and more to give the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence community a much better sense of what is possible for the region.

“We have a responsibility to be stewards of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin,” SOM Urban Design and Planning Partner Philip Enquist, FAIA, said. “We must design our cities and region to eliminate waste, and rely on more innovative and sustainable development strategies. We can and must ensure fresh water for all future generations.”

The Great Lakes—the world’s largest group of freshwater lakes—are situated between the United States and Canada. Thousands of years ago, glaciers formed Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. The waters of these connected lakes flow into the St. Lawrence River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean.