May 15

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Re-envisioning Our Rivers

Could a city famous for its lakefront become better known for its rivers instead? CurrentCast investigates—listen up:


Just another picture-perfect day for a paddle along the Chicago River. (via CBDM)

The “riverfront city by the lake” has a nice ring to it. And yet, Chicago’s key rivers—the Chicago, Calumet, and Des Plaines—have historically played a more utilitarian role for the Windy City, making it a center of commerce by providing a way to transport goods and move wastewater away from downtown. But pollution was the price.

“That history is a part of us,” says Josh Ellis of the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC). But we need to get beyond that a little bit, and start telling a story about what the rivers are today—and what they can become.”

He says now, as the city continues cleaning the water, it’s also outlining a new vision for its rivers.

Called Great Rivers Chicago, the initiative includes ideas like a continuous riverfront trail and more pedestrian bridges—things to help residents take as much pride in the rivers as they do Chicago’s famous lakefront.

Get schooled:


River-lover Josh Ellis directs MPC’s sustainability initiatives. (via MPC)

Take action:

  • Volunteer with Friends of the Chicago River
  • Get up close and personal with your river, by paddling or simply taking a stroll along its banks
  • Stay tuned for river-related events by bookmarking MPC’s events calendar

The fine print:



Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/green-infrastructure/re-envisioning-our-rivers/