Sinking Chicago: Climate Change and the Remaking of a Flood-Prone Environment (Urban Life, Landscape and Policy) (Paperback)


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Sinking Chicago: Climate Change and the Remaking of a Flood-Prone Environment (Urban Life, Landscape and Policy) Cover Image
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In Sinking Chicago, Harold Platt shows how people responded to climate change in one American city over a hundred-and-fifty-year period. During a long dry spell before 1945, city residents lost sight of the connections between land use, flood control, and water quality. Then, a combination of suburban sprawl and a wet period of extreme weather events created damaging runoff surges that sank Chicago and contaminated drinking supplies with raw sewage. 

Chicagoans had to learn how to remake a city built on a prairie wetland. They organized a grassroots movement to protect the six river watersheds in the semi-sacred forest preserves from being turned into open sewers, like the Chicago River. The politics of outdoor recreation clashed with the politics of water management. Platt charts a growing constituency of citizens who fought a corrupt political machine to reclaim the region’s waterways and Lake Michigan as a single eco-system. Environmentalists contested policymakers’ heroic, big-technology approaches with small-scale solutions for a flood-prone environment. Sinking Chicago lays out a roadmap to future planning outcomes.

About the Author

Harold L. Platt is Professor of History Emeritus at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author or editor of several books, including Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago, and Building the Urban Environment: Visions of the Organic City in the United States, Europe, and Latin America (Temple ). He has twice won the book-of-the-year award from the American Public Works Association.

Praise For…

"Platt has written the first study of the effects of long-term climate change on the American city of Chicago. It is an important undertaking, and the author is fit for the task.... Platt’s fine study, then, is a model for how other historians might write the history of ongoing climate change—with a critical eye toward crafting policies that will help people weather the storm."--American Historical Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781439915493
ISBN-10: 1439915490
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication Date: March 30th, 2018
Pages: 342
Language: English
Series: Urban Life, Landscape and Policy