Monday, June 9, 2008

Urban Resources Vol. 6

Apologies again for the entry gap. Those of you in the Northeast as unprepared as I for this first real heatwave can empathize with my sluggish approach to the weekend.

The big news about downtown Rochester these days is the Friday kickoff of the 7th edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival. This deserves a mention as it is an absolute blast and 100% free if you want it to be. However, it is more an end result of urban rebirth than a developing newspiece. I encourage everyone to attend if Jazz is your thing (or even if it isn't, you might be surprised), but will continue today with a short book synopsis until I get over to the RRCDC to purchase the full Charrette Report.

Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers is a collection of essays compiled by Paul Stanton Kibel, the impetus coming from a tangible difference in the way waterfronts are being thought about and treated around the country.

The compact 216 pages broken down into discrete contributions from eight different authors/author teams reads quickly, but is still full of expert detailed information on each waterway in addition to highlighting many of the procedural obstacles faced by activist groups as they strive for a balance between natural conditions and functionality.

The essays themselves were chosen on a criteria that ensured a good cross section of national geographic diversity, ongoing disputes with uncertain outcomes, and varied institutional approaches to varied problems. These include essays on:
  • The Los Angeles River Basin (over engineered for flood control)
  • Anacostia River - Washington, D.C. (traditional urban renewal ignorance, expressways, poor public housing)
  • Chicago River (reversed flow for sewage disposal, fight to keep invasive species from Lake Michigan)
  • City Creek - Salt Lake City, UT (creek completely buried in concrete tunnel through downtown)
  • Guadalupe River - San Jose, CA (water quality impairment)
  • The Army Corps of Engineers (planner and financier of many urban flood control projects)
  • The Coalition to Restore Urban Waterways (original urban-river activists and their legacy)
  • Hurricane Katrina (environmental justice, global warming, land use)

I have completed the first four essays while riding #30 buses and found the different methods of storm sewage treatment over the years displayed in the Chicago chapter to be the most fascinating. This is likely because of my engineering professional bias, but all of the essays teach a valuable lesson and I look forward to the final four. A lengthy Google book preview is available while it retails new for $22 on Amazon. Used copies in the Amazon Marketplace start at $12.61. It is not currently in circulation in the Monroe County Library System.


Josef Lorenz said...

i'd be interested to see what they say about storm and sewage runoff for the chicago section as well. not sure if you know or not, but here in 'cuse they are working on a creekwalk (designed to connect the inner harbor near carousel mall to the southside)...

and the county exec recently just scrapped plans for a treatment plant in armory square (where the creekwalk will center/end/pass thru depending on how much gets finished)...

they are supposedly using more "green" techniques with trees, runoff, etc... i know very little about this subject, so i'd like to see what they did in chicago.

also, not sure if you already know about this, but they are thinking about filling in a large portion of the old rochester subway...

take care man!

Josef Lorenz said...

those links didn't seem to work. how about this...

$500k for creekwalk

sewage plant scrapped