Chloe Gurin-Sands (MPC), Eileen Figel (FPCC) and John Quail (Friends of the Chicago River) accept the APA IL award on behalf of Great Rivers Chicago.
The Our Great Rivers vision was released just over 2 years ago by the Metropolitan Planning Council, the City of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago River, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and Ross Barney Architects. Since its release, so much progress has been made to move toward the goals of inviting, productive, and living rivers—from public art, to connected bike trails, to public housing that newly embraces the water. In fact, of the 26 goals in the report, which span to 2040, at least 18 are already seeing movement.
Implementation successes—many of which are highlighted here—represent the hard work and collaboration of over 60 partners, including the civic and nonprofit organizations, philanthropic organizations, governmental departments and agencies in Chicago and beyond, corporations and businesses, and community organizations.
In recognition of these implementation efforts, the Great Rivers Chicago initiative and all its partners were awarded the Implementation Award from the American Planning Association's Illinois Chapter. Representatives from the Metropolitan Planning Council, Friends of the Chicago River, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County went to receive the award on Sept. 26 in Springfield.
Congratulations to our many partners and supporters on the progress we've made in the first two years of implementation, and here's to the journey through 2040!
Here's what to expect next from the Great Rivers Chicago team:
- Chicago Fishes: Join us on the Riverwalk on 10/19 for a day of fishing, community building, and fun. Hosted by Friends of the Chicago River, Metropolitan Planning Council, the Chicago Park District, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Illinois Environmental Council, and the Shedd Aquarium. See more information here!
- Building on Beaubien: The Forest Preserves of Cook County, The Chicago Housing Authority, and American Institute of Architects Chicago (and many partners) will soon be releasing a master plan to improve Beaubien Woods and increase its connections to the surrounding communities.
- South Branch Parks: The South Branch Park Advisory Council and Smith Group JJR in partnership with Metropolitan Planning Council, Friends of the Chicago River, and Active Transportation Alliance will release a Parks Framework Plan for the South Branch parks - Park 571, Canal Origins Park, and Canalport Riverwalk.
- Our Great Rivers Cohort II: The Chicago Community Trust has awarded its second round of Our Great Rivers grants, which will continue to innovatively activate and plan for the rivers across the system.
- Chicago River Design Guidelines: The City of Chicago Department of Development and Planning (DPD) will complete the updated Chicago River Design Guidelines which will shape riverfront development for decades to come.
- Industrial Corridor Modernization: DPD is conducting reviews to modernize the city's Industrial Corridors, and multiple riverfront corridors will be under review. The North Branch Framework Plan was completed in 2017, and currently, the Little Village and Calumet corridors are under review.
This piece first appeared at Great Rivers Chicago.