The Great Lakes are facing an invasive species crisis. Asian carp, a group of foreign invaders with no known predators and a voracious appetite, are threatening one of the greatest fresh water resources in the world. Elected officials and the Army Corps of Engineers have failed to act, and the situation is dire. But architect Jeanne Gang sees an opportunity to clean up the river, to improve Chicago’s water treatment system, and to revitalize a neighborhood.
Just weeks after becoming the first architect in more than a decade to win a MacArthur genius grant, Gang released a slender book outlining her vision of how to fix the Chicago River. Reverse Effect, which is the result of a yearlong collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, advocates completely separating Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River basin and restoring the natural flow of the Chicago River. Not only would the separation prevent carp and other invasive species from traveling between the Mississippi and the Great Lakes, Gang’s proposal would use a physical barrier as a catalyst to reimagine an urban neighborhood and to introduce green infrastructure to Chicago’s South Side.
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