“The Future of Brownfields” is an ongoing partnership between Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design (IIT ID) and Calumet Collaborative that challenges us to think differently about underutilized land, such as vacant residential buildings, abandoned industrial sites, unmanaged natural areas, and former landfills. The collaboration also aims to understand how design can play a role in the sustainable redevelopment of the Calumet region.
Three recently released booklets explore the minimum infrastructure needed to create value and mobilize action, as well as the approach taken by researchers and partners to run prototyping experiences.
These booklets correspond to the following prototypes and can be downloaded at the links below:
these activities gave us confidence that the Things we are developing are both socio-ecologically relevant and rich with business opportunities.”
Those Things Andre refers to are covered in detail in the three booklets, and summarized below:
Act Calumet explores ideas like a Calumet Coin Fund, that rewards local residents for performing stewardship activities at vacant properties, by using things like Smart Contracts that allow these types of credible transactions to happen without third parties.
Flag Calumet features the FLAGmighter – a public “art and science” installation assembled by youth to entice other residents and visitors to learn about the environment. The FLAGmighter collects data on its surroundings that can be transferred to a digital dashboard, allowing the ability to measure trends in the natural environment.
Mini Calumet uses a neighborhood-building simulator called Block’Hood that allows participants to be governing agents and build communities, all while addressing challenges like creating a sustainable food system, restoring abandoned blocks, increasing biodiversity, and establishing a healthy business.
Moving into 2019, IIT ID has secured funding from the Kresge Foundation to micro pilot the Flag Calumet prototype. Additionally, the Act Calumet prototype will be further developed and explored through another semester long workshop with Masters and PhD students, and Calumet Collaborative will help connect students to experts in Brownfield redevelopment as the course progresses.
“Given the complexity and scale of the Act Calumet, we are currently exploring if the introduction of new technologies and digital platforms could provide alternative avenues to empower local residents towards reactivating abandoned properties and vacant land in the Calumet region. We are particularly interested in emerging financial services aiming at decentralizing power and promoting inclusion,” explains Andre.
“For the Flag Calumet, we are refining our prototype to create a DIY Assembly Kit. The kit should be used not only to facilitate the interactions between multiple stakeholders involved in redeveloping Brownfields, but also to empower and enable local residents to collect and use data about their own environment. By the end of the project, we should also have a clear vision for how to scale up this initiative,” says Andre.
Calumet Collaborative, IIT ID, and ChiByDesign are excited to continue “The Future of Brownfields” collaboration and look forward to the outputs at the end of the semester. For more information, download all outputs from “The Future of Brownfields” partnership on Calumet Collaborative’s Projects Page.