Calumet RETROFIT: Before the City, there was the Sand: Designing a Resilient Calumet TER/RAIN

 “Before the City, there was the Sand” explores the issue of urban flooding in the southern Chicago region through a deep reading of its geological history. The soils and surficial sediments—the sands in particular—are an important part of the hydro-geologic and geographic history of the Great Lakes region. This project calls for a “re-surfacing" of the sands in the spatial and infrastructural design of the urban landscape relative to water and stormwater management. 

In this geological context, the project specifically explores the material origins of a 300-acre neighborhood in Calumet City, IL. The site and community are located within greater industrial Chicago, and adjacent to one of the ecologically richest dune regions in the southern Great Lakes region. Our interdisciplinary team of landscape architecture, geology, and civil & environmental engineering students used soil studies, modeling, and design to reveal patterns of the geological legacy of beach ridges and dune-swale ecology. We used these patterns as functional intermediaries for rainfall, but more importantly, as ways to construct new relationships of people with a forgotten landscape. 

This project is one of two community design projects accomplished through research funding from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program (NOAA) 2018-2019 # NA18OAR4170082.

Team Members
Yang Xia, Student ASLA; Mengdi Chi, Landscape Architecture; Jingyi Li, Landscape Architecture; Lauren Mathias, Landscape Architecture; Bo Pang, Landscape Architecture; Jinyu Shen, Landscape Architecture; Xi Wang, Landscape Architecture; Lixian Zeng, Landscape Architecture; Yi Zhao, Landscape Architecture; Avery Clark, Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences; Piotr Szocinski, Geology; Reshmina William, Civil & Environmental Geology; Gabrielle Bethke, Civil & Environmental Geology

Project Credits
Co-PIs Andrew Phillips & David Grimley, Illinois Sate Geological Survey; Ashlynn Stillwell, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Margaret Schneemann, CMAP, IL/IN Sea Grant
Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush; Calumet City Council; Bill Murray, Calumet City; Val Williams, Calumet City; Mike Palomino, Calumet City Plumbing
Kristine Ryan, NRCS and Sarah Smith, NRCS
Matt Buerger, Mott MacDonald and Saki Handa, Mott MacDonald
Paul Labus, The Nature Conservancy
Tony Sinkosky, 110CDCO