The Design Duluth studio began in 2012 as a collaboration between the College of Design's Landscape Architecture and Architecture departments and the city of Duluth, MN. The interdisciplinary graduate design studio works in collaborative teams of landscape architecture and architecture students in their final year to develop proposals for resilient futures of Duluth.
Under the leadership of mayor Don Ness, the city of Duluth has lofty goals; becoming the 'Trail capital of the Universe' and to increase the city's population to 90,000 by 2020, are two of these goals. In 2012, Duluth was inundated by over 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, resulting in one of the worst flood events in the city's history. The damage caused by overflowing trout streams (Duluth has sixteen running through and under the city) catalyzed the city's desire to invest in resiliency as they pursue population and recreation growth. The premise of the Design Duluth studio is to help the city envision and achieve their goals for growth and resiliency through design strategies that capitalize on Duluth's wealth of natural resources and deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit.
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Duluth, a city of just over 86,000 people, has a long history as an industrial port city located on the north shore of Lake Superior and the westernmost point of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Duluth's port, and its neighboring port in Superior, WI, grew up around the iron ore and coal mining industries in the Iron Range of Minnesota, which boomed during the early- to mid-20th century. Today, the Twin Ports still transport the most iron ore (taconite), grain, and coal among the Great Lake ports even though these industries are not as fruitful as they once were. Duluth has become a tourist and recreational destination for the Midwest because of the rich natural environment and vistas created by the rock formation cliffs of the North Shore.
College of Design
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