Third Coast Atlas: Prelude to a Plan

Editors: Daniel Ibañez, Clare Lyster, Charles Waldheim, Mason White, ACTAR 2017

Third Coast Atlas: Prelude to a Plan describes the conditions for urbanization across the Great Lakes region. It assembles a multi-layered, empirical description of urbanization processes within the drainage basins of the five Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. This thick description encompasses a range of representational forms including maps, plans, diagrams, timelines, and photographs, as well as speculative design research projects and critical texts. Postponing diagnosis, let alone treatment of these conditions, Third Coast Atlas aspires to simply describe. It proposes a new geographic gestalt for urban analysis. Superimposed upon the North American continent, and with easily recognizable yet divergent political and geological borders, this megaregion traverses portions of eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, as well as the world’s largest collection of surficial fresh water. Third Coast Atlas characterizes the littoral edge as a distinct field of urbanization, and constructs a reading of the region both specific and speculative.

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"Third Coast Atlas is a weighty tome, the product of years of research on the Great Lakes region. Its four editors―all architects and urbanists―and numerous contributors explore the deep connections between the region’s geography, ecology, economy, infrastructure, and urbanism, all to produce a foundation for later planning efforts. The book is primarily divided into two different types of chapters: “Potentials” (which are topical and cover subjects like political borders, hydrology, and trash disposal) and “Prospects” (which focus on specific cities like Chicago, Buffalo, and Montreal). Laden with diagrams, maps, and photos, Atlas skews toward an academic audience even as its sprawling essays dissect an entire region’s complex past, present, and potential near-future." --Metropolis Magazine

Clare Lyster Urbanism and Architecture (CLUAA) 2023 — Chicago, Illinois