CHICAGO ASPHALT asphalt inventory.jpg


This is our inventory of asphalt in Southside Chicago. 25-30% of the city is covered by it. 

Just as cities were historically visualized though figure-ground drawings of the relationships between architectural form and the interconnected public space, today we can see the formal figure of the city through its pavement infrastructure. The field condition of asphalt is the single most defining system of the City of Chicago. No other material condition has more influence on the way the city feels and performs. 

Asphalt city is hot dry surface, that is also largely responsible for urban flooding.

How much of this surface can be removed or converted to alternative materials? How would the city perform, if we didn't have so much asphalt to deal with? What does the future city look like and feel like?

Water Lab is investigating a series of Depave Sites. Through mapping and modeling analysis, we identified 3 Test-Plot sites that will serve as preliminary locations for design conversion of pavements and other obstructions of the urban surface contact layer. Using strategies of Subtraction and Reconfiguration, Depave Sites will serve as design prototype, demonstration and research grounds.

Image: created by students in Surface Studio spring 2015, University of Illinois.