Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Greening the Rustbelt

In the current issue of the Next American City is this article: ENVIRONMENT: Greening the Rustbelt. It is worth a read for some obvious reasons, but note it has a focus on Meadville, PA. Also just out is this piece in the journal of the International City/County Management Association on Sustainability in Public Management. It's kind of interesting because it represents the continued mainstreaming of sustainability in the public sector.

Just to connect this to my recent post where I mentioned Duisburg Germany's Landscape Park.... I didn't get into the environmental part of the Duisburg story. Landscape Park has a focus of trying to re-integrate the industrial artifact into a natural ecosystem. As such it has a lot of unique environmental projects within the park. And as big as it is, Landscape park is just one tiny piece of a greater project to rehabilitate an entire region in the Ruhr Valley, or Ruhrgebeit, that was devastated by centuries of concentrated industrialization. If you think the Mon is dirty at all, it just does not compare to the Emscher river is where all industrial effulent from the region was shunted for a century. In parts it was nothing more than a cement lined canal that was rendered lifeless long ago. The Emscher Park International Building Exhibition which created Landscape park was a 10 year project to preserve over a hundred sites in the Ruhrgebeit and begin the renaturing of the river itself. For those who know how dirty all coking operations are, one of the sites is a former coke plant converted into an art museum. If I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed it was possible. Collectively, the preservation of sites and renaturing the river may be one of the largest environmental reclamation projects ever attempted.

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