Our Great Rivers highlights and achievements - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Our Great Rivers highlights and achievements

Following a comprehensive vision, a look at the past few years of progress on our region's waterways. Next up, 2030, 2040, and beyond.

Our current reality of social distancing and sheltering in place has made access to community spaces and nature more important than ever. Taking a stroll can be a small escape during these indoor days. Outdoors we can all feel a little closer to each other, even if it’s from 6 feet (or more!) away.

Many of the planning activities around implementing a new future for the Chicago River system includes collaboration to advance initiatives and being together to celebrate a program or event. Although we, as members of the Chicago community, cannot currently all gather in person physically, we should continue to plan for those times when we can be together again and take this moment to highlight what we’ve managed to collectively achieve in the past three years as part of Great Rivers Chicago.

Projects and policy change both big and small level up to a vision for the rivers articulated in Our Great Rivers, launched in 2016 by the City of Chicago, MPC, Friends of the Chicago River, and numerous other partners. We have all collaborated to coordinate this work through both individual and community action and broader objectives to advance a plan for how we want to experience our rivers.

Our Great Rivers was launched in 2016 by the City of Chicago, MPC, Friends of the Chicago River, and numerous other partners.

MPC put together a brief summary of some of our accomplishments in advancing this vision. This snapshot is in no way comprehensive, but highlights successes in reaching our 2020 goals that are worth celebrating and sets us up for continued progress in 2020, 2030 and beyond. This requires us to continue this momentum, chipping away at this vision even when times are uncertain because we are preparing for a future where all our rivers are inviting, living and productive.

If spending more time indoors than usual has taught me anything, it has made abundantly clear the value of our natural spaces and the importance of access for all communities up and down our rivers. It is our hope that everyone across the region will be able to engage with the currently accessible parts of Chicago’s rivers again soon and that through our work on Great Rivers Chicago more and more riverfronts will become community spaces.

Over the past three years we have managed to achieve many great successes together, and I look forward to continuing to build on this work this year as well as the years ahead.  

Check out four years of progress on our region's waterways

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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