Invited Exhibition: 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Curators: Sarah Dunn, Martin Felsen, Sarah Dunn, Reed Kroloff

Team: Conor O'Shea, Chris Bennett, Aneesha Dharwadker, Michael O'Shea

Does Chicago’s ward system still make sense as a civic organizing device? What if we governed ourselves based on resource management, rather than political management?

Wasteland aligns Chicago’s political boundaries with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s intercepting sewer basins in order to encourage development. Seven basins replace the 50 ward system,
each one led by a new elected official. Each basin is anchored by an existing wastewater reclamation plant which repurposes waste to generate new economic activity. This new model for 21st century
biosolid-driven urbanism hybridizes development through new manufactured landscapes in areas of the region where job loss, pollution, and industrial decay persist. Chicago’s 9th Ward, where the
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s second largest Wastewater Reclamation Plant sits side by side with former factory town of Pullman, is poised for redevelopment and an exciting test site for this
strategy. Blackwater produced in each of Wasteland’s eight basins is delivered by the sewer catchment area to an associated wastewater reclamation plant (WRP). Each WRP is the political epicenter for
each basin.