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Great Rivers Chicago

Reconnecting communities and their rivers

Celebrating riverfront progress #GreatRiversChicago

In 2016, Our Great Rivers was released as the first-ever unifying and forward-looking vision for all three of Chicago’s rivers. The document included goals and targets for 2020, 2030, and 2040.

During this first milestone year, MPC has documented incredible progress to make our rivers more inviting, productive, and living. Between August 6 and Labor Day, we and many of our partners took to social media to celebrate the plans, projects, and passion that have improved the Chicago, Calumet, and Des Plaines rivers over the past four years.

Here are many of the stories we highlighted through the campaign. We invite you to check them out, get inspired, and continue the conversation by using #GreatRiversChicago whenever you post about our region's amazing rivers.  

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Murals are well suited to #riverfronts and trails, with their often linear and bold designs. A number of #murals near our region’s rivers express the cultural heritage of local communities. Along the El Paseo in #Pilsen, the El Abrazo mural, a project of the @elpaseogarden, @neighborspace, @pilsenita, @elmacheteillustrated, @kpfkpf, and other local artists honors the Mexican #immigrants who have shaped this Chicago neighborhood. The Major Taylor Trail, which crosses the #CalumetRiver in the south suburbs, you can learn about the life of World Champion track cyclist Major Taylor through a striking #mural painted on a bridge. At #PingTom in Chicago’s Chinatown, two murals—funded in part through Great Rivers Chicago—beautified the park’s underpass with a traditional landscape painting and a blue and white floral design inspired by Chinese porcelain. #greatriverschicago

A post shared by Metropolitan Planning Council (@metroplanners) on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:01am PDT

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“Steelworkers Park sits on the spot where the Calumet River and Lake Michigan meet. The park itself -- with remnants of massive factory walls that are now a climbing wall -- is an homage to the #industrial legacy of Chicago's rivers, which continues today. Local organizations are working to manage ongoing industrial uses and better connect this park with community through culturally relevant programming. They’re also pushing for the closure of a nearby waste disposal site, which could be converted as another park space. My family loves this part of region because of the mix of industrial and natural habitat aesthetic, the beautiful lakefront view, and of course, the #geocaches!” —Chloe Gurin-Sands, MPC Manager of Health Equity & Planning #GreatRiversChicago

A post shared by Metropolitan Planning Council (@metroplanners) on Aug 23, 2020 at 3:15pm PDT

The Urban Rivers podcast is a great way to learn about the Wild Mile, a floating eco-park being developed along the...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Wendella Boats has been operating boat tours and cruises along the Chicago River for decades. Like other businesses, the...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Friday, August 14, 2020

The Northwest Portage Walking Museum is a planned outdoor museum along the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers, reflecting...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Monday, August 24, 2020

When we think of cities, we don’t tend to think of forests—but forests are actually very important to healthy urban...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor was a professional bicycle racer and the second black athlete to ever win a World...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Saturday, August 29, 2020

Changes are underway at the Illinois International Port District. The IIPD is in the midst of a $17 million...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Friday, September 4, 2020

Many communities are using green #infrastructure—such as rain gardens, detention ponds, and parking lots made of pavers,...

Posted by Metropolitan Planning Council on Saturday, September 5, 2020
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Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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