Cleveland Flats Connection Plan

Project: Cleveland Flats Connections Plan
Location: Cleveland, OH
Firm: CMG Landscape Architecture
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description: Building Cleveland by Design (BCbD), a joint program of ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art, has retained CMG to lead a design process for key connections in Cleveland’s historic Flats neighborhood. The scope of work calls for planning and schematic design for connections that will both bring greater unity to the central city neighborhood and link it more strongly to surrounding areas. Cleveland’s Flats is rich in historic and environmental value. CMG has emphasized ecological design through the planning and design process as a fundamental way to treat and re-frame the area’s rich but complex conditions with sensitivity.

CMG has worked with BCbD in a nimble and responsive manner, often providing material, designs and exhibits to enable community visioning and stakeholder communication on an as needed basis.  Simultaneously CMG has developed an open space framework plan to inform future public and private development of the historic Flats.  Various project sites are addressed in detail within the flats framework plan.  These discrete sites include: an 8 acre linear park with integral storm water treatment and habitat creation program; a remnant landscape that is nominated as a National Archeological Site that CMG has framed as an urban wild, again with an overlay of storm water treatment and habitat creation; a temporary one acre landscape installation to occupy an old parking lot.  The Connections planning and design is to knit together private and public investments in the district, helping ensure that residents and visitors can move easily between new neighborhoods and parks on both the East and West banks of the Cuyahoga River. By solidifying connections, the Flats can become a complete, walk-able neighborhood, attracting people, energy and investment back to the center of Cleveland.

Project Team Members: Willett Moss, Scott Cataffa, Calder Gillin

Anning River New South Town

Project: Anning River New South Town in Miyi County: Future Historic Ecologies
Location: Miyi County, Panzhihua, China
Firm: SWA Group
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description: The design for the development of the 200-hectare Anning River New South Town proposes an innovative hydrologic system, a hybrid of the historic waterways and a new ecological system to serve as the backbone for a vibrant new town. At the core of the proposal is an understanding of how people and program interface with water systems, ranging from infrastructure (new hydroelectric dam) to ecological recreational features (a lake for swimming at the southern end of the project containing filtered water). The goal was to create a city identified through an improved relationship with water, setting a new precedent for Chinese waterfront design.

The proposal was based on thorough analysis conducted by the landscape architect and affiliated consultants, including commercial consultants, civil engineers, and hydrology engineers. Central to this study was an understanding of the site’s landscape structure, defined largely by the Anning River and its new hydroelectric dam, a system of mountain and agriculture waterways, and the agriculture fields that they serve.

The successful execution of this project relies on an integrated approach to land planning and hydrological design. The project is defined by three strategies: integrating the existing landscape systems and agricultural heritage with new development, enriching the new city’s relationship to water with a hybrid approach to new and old hydrological infrastructure, and using an array of planning strategies to activate the rich underlying landscape infrastructure.

Project Team Members: 
Project Lead Designer: Gerdo Aquino, President
SWA Group Project Team: Gerdo Aquino, Patrick Curran, Ying-Yu Hung, Dawn Dyer, Alexander Robinson, Youngmin Kim, Grace Qin Gao, Ying-Hu, Michael Hee, Natalie Sandoval, Gary Garcia, Meng Yang, Ryan Hsu, Hyun-Min Kim, Qiu Hong Tang
Architecture: Studio ShiftMario Cipresso, Chris Warren
Sustainable Planning and Engineering Consultants: ARUP, Tony Chan, Yong-Wei, Qi-Liang He, James Chen
Control Plan: Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design
Ecological Engineering: Biomatrix Water


Project: Streamlines
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Firm: Stoss Landscape Urbanism
Year: 2011
Firm website:

Project Description: The project re-imagines 5.5 miles of Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis, from the cultural riverfront in downtown north to the city limit. Stoss’s proposal is titled Streamlines; it’s about sheer, unfiltered experiences of direct contact with the river and river life, in many ways and at multiple moments. And it’s about weaving these experiences back into the everyday city.

Streamlines is also a project about working ecologies, ecological systems and dynamics put to work to clean, to re-constitute this working riverfront, and to guide a longer-term transformation of the city fabric. But it is not about a single green line along the river. Rather, this project is about multiple threads, multiple strands; it evokes the stories and lives of the people who live, work, and play by the river’s edge and have done so for centuries. It builds from the rich histories and evolving identities of the Mississippi River, the ecological, economic, social lifeblood of the city, and of the continent. And it puts in place a series of working and operational landscapes, green infrastructures, and landscape-based urban fabrics that will guide this transformation for the next generation of city-dwellers, just as the Grand Rounds did for 20th-century Minneapolis.

Project Team Members:
Designer: Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Chris Reed, principal, lead designer
Scott Bishop, project manager
Meg Studer, project designer
Design Team: Jill Allen, Thomas Clark, Jill Desimini, Sandrina Dumitrascu, Alexandra Gauzza,
Marguerite Graham, Taekyung Kim, Stephanie Morrison
Collaborators: Michael Maltzan Architecture (architecture + infrastructure)
Utile, Inc. (urban design)
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Antimodular Inc. (interactive public art)
Close Landscape Architecture + (associate landscape + planning)
Applied Ecological Services (ecology + natural resources)
Buro Happold (sustainability + infrastructure)
Hr & A Advisors, Inc. (economic development)
Plandform Ltd (ecology + environmental planning)
Project Projects (identity + environmental graphics)
Moffat Nichol (waterfront + hydraulic engineering)
Nelson\Nygaard (transportation planning)
Davis Langdon (cost estimation)
Pine & Swallow (soil science)
Jim Tittle, Nice Pictures (videography)
Eric Silva (audio)

Find out more:
Stoss – Complete Streamlines Submission on the Minneapolis Competition Website
Stoss – Director’s Cut – Streamlines Video

Image credits: Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Pacific Commons

Project: Pacific Commons
Location: Fremont, CA
Firm: CMG Landscape Architecture
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description:  CMG lead the design and regulatory approval process for this 16 acre regional stormwater treatment wetland and trail system. The wetland treats stormwater from a highly developed 514 acre watershed. Detailed hydrologic modeling indicates that the system will treat an average of 88% of annual runoff. The design of the wetland system is emblematic of CMG’s unique approach to complex system based landscapes which combine infrastructure with ecological and water quality functions. Habitat creation, hydraulic requirements, water quality parameters, public access, and maintenance considerations are all integrated within an artfully composed environment predicated on ecological parameters. A variety of wetland plant associations are combined in a sculpted mosaic that will emerge and evolve over time based on seasonal water depths and flows. The project completes a mile long section of the regional Bay Trail system and includes a pedestrian loop and a series of overlook picnic areas.

Project Team Members: Chris Guillard, John Bela

[Dis]assemble Detroit

Project: [Dis]assemble Detroit
Location: Detroit, MI
Designers: Alamira Noor, Bani Hashim
Year: 2011
Program: Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Faculty Advisors: Toni Griffin, Andrea Hansen

Project description: It goes without saying that unprecedented levels of vacancy have taken a social and economic toll on Detroit. However, the proliferation of unmaintained vacant lots also has potentially transformative repercussions in the form of emergent landscapes that can be collectively harnessed into a new open space system to improve Detroit’s ecological performance and its communities.But first, a change in perception and ideals is required. We must let go of what we know as Detroit, unthink it, interrupt it, and reexamine the pieces to build a better, healthier city. [Dis]assemble Detroit examines Detroit’s ecological health and suggests a series of interventions aimed at improving it. These interventions are tied together by the theme of disassembly: symbolically, through efforts to change the perception of traditional urbanism, but also procedurally, through the identification of sites and intervention typologies as the outcome of a metaphorical “puzzle game” of city. In Detroit today, parcels are scattered into tiny, unusable pieces. In order to operate systemically and connect individual parcels into an ecological network, parcels must be filtered for their potential. The puzzle game sets the tone for reshaping the city by re-sorting vacant parcels independently of their location so they can be evaluated by metrics of parcel size, shape, land use or vacancy.

[Dis]assemble Detroit’s methodology classifies vacant land based on its general characteristics, geographical condition, and the severity of its situation. Based on the resultant classification, the land is assigned one or more of four functions: 1) stormwater mitigation, 2) soil remediation, 3) recreation, or 4) urban development. These functions are implemented across two geographies. The first geography is a series of new performative green bands across Detroit that aid in stormwater mitigation and soil remediation. The second geography consists of three consolidated development areas that are centered around existing healthy cores, where vacant parcels are incentivized for investment.