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Chicago River at the Scale of the Anthropocene panel discussion with Jennifer Buyck, Adam Flickinger, Ron Henderson, and Phil Nicodemus


Water is presented throughout 6018North, with each floor housing four thematic sections: Now; Then; We the People – What Have We Done?; and Imagination. Through videos and photographs, Now depicts the present conditions of the Chicago River and Mississippi River. Then offers archives and historical documents of Chicago’s waterways. We the People – What Have We Done? explores the anthropogenic effects on water.

Water is a partner program of the 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial. This exhibition is a collaboration between 6018North, and Villa Albertine; the works of two former residents will indeed be on view: Jennifer Buyck and Pierre-Alexandre Savriacouty. Water is ongoing research in sustainable strategies for a 2024 exhibition as a part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art investigating and elevating Chicago’s rich visual art and design histories and creative communities.

About the speakers

Jennifer Buyck is an architect with a doctorate in aesthetics, also serving as an urban planning instructor. Her research encompasses diverse themes, including the evolution of contemporary cities, urban design, urban agriculture, and the concept of landscape. As a project manager in a landscaping and urban planning agency, she actively engages with the Ministry of Ecology, investing in the development of public spaces, from initial planning stages to construction. Her unwavering commitment is rooted in a singular ambition: to bridge disciplines and methodologies, fostering innovation in how we approach nature within urban environments and reevaluating the human-nature connection. In the context of our Anthropocene era, she seeks to explore the nuances of urban ecology from a pluralistic perspective. Her goal involves initiating dialogues among artists, urban planners, and landscape architects while forging connections between research and artistic expression, blending the realms of science and sensitivity, and harmonizing the worlds of ecology and urban development.

Adam Flickinger an experienced and licensed urban planning professional with over 15 years of expertise, serves as the Planning Director for Friends of the Chicago River. In this role, he champions innovative waterways planning and urban design to realize a healthy, accessible, and resilient Chicago River system. Adam’s work involves fostering partnerships with agencies, communities, businesses, and environmental advocates to promote a blue-green corridor approach and regional watershed perspective. His career has spanned diverse projects, from large-scale international developments to transit-oriented developments, all with a focus on enhancing urban design, walkability, and the synergy between private development and the public realm. Adam excels in facilitating collaborative efforts to implement visionary plans and initiatives.

Professor Ron Henderson is an internationally renowned figure in landscape architecture, known for his expertise in design, history, research, and education. His current research covers a wide spectrum of topics, including the Driverless City Project, contemporary urbanism in China and Japan, arboriculture, horticulture practices, botanical drawing, and landscape-based urbanism. He has authored notable works such as “The Gardens of Suzhou” and various articles on landscape architecture and urbanism. His upcoming publication, “The Driverless City,” delves into the urban design implications of autonomous vehicles.

Phil Nicodemus is an experienced professional with a diverse background in environmental stewardship and plant care. Currently serving as the Director of Research at Urban Rivers in Chicago, he has dedicated over 8 years to this role. Phil has also contributed to environmental conservation efforts as a Nature Outpost Stewardship Coordinator at Shedd Aquarium and in aquatic plant maintenance at the Chicago Botanic Garden. With a strong foundation in biology, he has held positions as a Plant Healthcare Technician at SavATree and as an Aquatic Field Technician at Integrated Lakes Management. Phil’s commitment to environmental research and stewardship is underscored by his educational background, holding a Master of Science in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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