Healthy Port Future’s Sensitive Structures project in the Great Lakes region represents the possibilities of applying landscape architecture insights to coastal protection methods.

A sensitive structure considers context. It strives for a big picture approach balancing regional and local environmental conditions, history, economy, and cultural values.

Sensitive structures meet immediate community goals and serve as instruments for gaining knowledge about coastal systems and how to adapt to new conditions and future project goals in the Great Lakes and beyond.


Illinois Beach State Park

Erosion exacerbated by sediment loss and climate change is washing away habitats that took thousands of years to develop in years, and sometimes months. This project is a multi-agency effort that could reduce both the cost and visual impact necessary to protect this valuable habitat.


To sustain industry, shipping channels are continually dredged, creating the constant challenge of what to do with the removed sediment. This project takes that challenge and turns it into the production of wetland habitat for a state that has lost 80% of its coastal wetlands.

Port Bay

The Port Bay community has two concerns: what do they do with material from annual dredging and how do they protect their diminishing barrier bar? This project links the annual dredging to the potential of nourishing the barrier bar without increased cost to the community.


Similar to our project in Lorain, we are engaged in a multi-agency collaboration to create wetlands from dredged material. We used physical and digital modeling to determine what kind of typography will support complex wetland habitats and how that topography could be created over time.

Awards & Press

Stay updated on progress for current projects and recognition from the design and scientific communities.

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