The 3 Rivers 2nd Nature Project, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA


The 3 Rivers 2nd Nature project was directed by artists/researchers Tim Collins and Reiko Goto. The project addressed the meaning, form, and function of public space and nature in Allegheny County, PA, U.S.A. This is the region that encompasses the former steel industry capital of the United States, Pittsburgh PA, U.S.A. 3 Rivers 2nd Nature focused upon the three major rivers; the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio Rivers, as well as the streams and subwatersheds. This five-year project revisited questions of nature and post-industrial public space, first addressed on the Nine Mile Run Greenway Project. The focus of the work is research to benefit the public realm, applied as strategic knowledge with accompanying outreach programs intended to enable creative public advocacy and change.

The 3 Rivers 2nd Nature conducted integrative analysis and instrumental planning based upon the rigorous field studies that began in the year 2000. The work effort focused upon partnerships to accomplish interdisciplinary analysis, spatial mapping, and concept design within and among specific communities. The work culminated with an ecological design plan and a water quality policy report that analyzed alternatives for ongoing water quality sampling. Finally, the project team has organized the "Monongahela Conferences" and the subsequent 2005 "Groundworks" exhibition (October 2005) to examine the artist's role in social and environmental change.



Reiko Goto, Born and raised in Tokyo Japan, Doctoral Researcher, Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Reiko has begun work with Dr Anne Gordon on a PhD within the ‘On the Edge’ program. Her interests are ecology based - an inquiry of living things in relationship to their environment. Her work has been presented at Capp Street Project in San Francisco and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She also has permanent projects sited in California and Washington States. Reiko has just published an article on leadership titled “The Journey” for a-n magazine, March 2007.


Tim Collins, Born and raised in Rhode Island, USA, Associate Dean, School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton, UK. Tim is an artist, educator and theorist working with the cultural issues of ecological restoration and the form and function of post-industrial public space. In his current role he is charged with graduate programs and research. He is the founding director of the Black Country Centre for Art, Design, Research and Enterprise. Tim is currently preparing a paper for a colloquium on aesthetics, nature and public space, at the University of Paris in May 2007.


Illustration: For the Groundworks exhibition, we wanted to represent the body of work done on 3 Rivers 2nd Nature, without unpacking the full 15 volumes of reports, or the record of the social, ecological and political dialogue that defines that project. We decided to use a sand mandala as an archetypal template to present our attempt to restore and to complete the recovering natural ecosystems of Allegheny County