The Future of Brownfields is an ongoing partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design (IIT ID) and Calumet Collaborative that challenges us to find innovative ways to approach Brownfield redevelopment.
When the collaboration started in 2018, Masters and PhD students identified five strategies to redevelop the Calumet’s Brownfields: involve residents, leverage assets, integrate infrastructure, empower science, and strengthen the local economy. Four concepts emerged from these strategies:
Act Calumet and Flag Calumet have been further developed in 2019, with some exciting developments including working prototypes, marketplace design, and new concepts.
During the Spring 2019 IIT ID Act Calumet Workshop taught by Dr. Carlos Teixeira and Ph.D. Candidate Andre Nogueira, students explored how new technologies, infrastructures, and emerging financial services can provide alternative pathways to empower local residents towards reactivating abandoned properties and vacant lots in the Calumet region.
After research, workshops, panel discussions, and collaborating with community organizations, students designed a system of solutions that addressed five actions: Investing, Training, Managing, Activating, and Tracking. Prototypes were developed that connected those actions with the following scenarios:
“Through the lens of systems design, we worked at the intersection of environmental justice, digital technologies, and new market places to reframe issues of abandoned properties in the Calumet Region,” says Andre Nogueira, as he summarizes the work of the class. Andre also explained how this work could live beyond the classroom. “By incorporating considerations of financial stagnancy, centralization of power, short-term profitability, and segregation, this work opens new doors that are worth exploring for transforming properties that are currently being considered as bereft of value and benefit into assets for equitable local economic development."
Read more about the Act Calumet workshop and prototypes in two recently released reports: the Act Calumet Critical Report and Act Calumet Design Brief.
Flag Calumet has been able to live beyond the classroom by leveraging Kresge funds to further refine the concept and prototype. Flag Calumet assists in Brownfield redevelopment by measuring the surrounding environment and its restoration efforts, and incorporates creative placemaking with a hands-on experience that uses art to customize the installation.
IIT ID has partnered with Field Museum, Wildlife Habitat Council, Boxville, and The Student Conservation Association to understand how Flag Calumet could be activated in a way that answers the following questions:
The insight gained from these collaborations have propelled Flag Calumet to an exciting next step: building a marketplace. To build a marketplace, the Flag Calumet team will enhance the platform’s design which will connect supply and demand for ecosystem services, create a service blueprint that can enable transactions between stakeholders, and partner on workforce development by restoring habitats through service.
If you would like to be involved in testing and scaling Flag Calumet, please reach out to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org