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{LaB} » Fluctuating Infrastructure
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Fluctuating Infrastructure



The water flow of the Mississippi has many factors that influence where it turns, bends, rises, falls, increases in speed, or even decreases in speed at some points. These factors are known as levees, dams, spur dikes, and locks. There are 29 locations where these locks/dams are located along the Mississippi, 27 of which are north of St. Louis. This means that the river is controlled at many points. In doing so, these locks and dams help maintain a stable water flow for navigational purposes.

Not only do manmade factors affect the river system, but the natural environment that the river exists in can affect how the river fluctuates. Some of these factors include the depth of the river, the width, and the volume. From St. Louis south, the levee system starts to be more prominent due to elements such as settlements and the increasing volume of water. Within this area of focus, we are interested in what happens when the water is affected by these structures. Objects like soil sediment and debris are shifted around, while the river continues to cut and fill the surrounding land. T he emphasis becomes placed on the ecological system being created and disturbed over a period of time


Within the framework, there are major elements that must be studied to understand how the river flow has become a major ecological system. The river began its course as a wild moving structure that overtime has become somewhat a channelized element.  The strategies to understand begin from how the river once was, and how it has transformed over the years into a more controlled and manipulated ecological system.

Controlling Strategies (Channelized)

-Locks + Dams

-Levee System

River Fluctuation

-Water Levels

-Sediments Deposited

-Addition/Subtraction of Land

Formation Natural Levees


By exploring different situations the water encounters, we can begin to understand how the river runs it course and is controlled at the same time. These situations being re-created will help one understand the systems of the river and hopefully open more detailed aspects not fully understood or shown yet.


The Mississippi River is an important component to the land and the people who encounter it. Many do not have the knowledge of this huge natural system and how this system fluctuates on a daily basis. Our hope is that we can recreate and portray this environment through a certain representation style that will bond the framework together producing a visual statement.

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