Chicago River Design Guidelines Update


2019 Honor Award


Chicago, IL


Planning and Analysis

Landscape Architects


Project Details

The Chicago River Design Guidelines – adopted in January 2019 – outline the goals, expectations, and requirements for development along the Chicago River and its branches within the city limits. Appropriately developed, the river corridor will continue to provide additional open space and recreational opportunities, increase property values, promote economic vitality, increase environmental awareness, and enhance Chicago’s attractiveness as a tourist destination. The guidelines encourage all new developments to embrace the river and activate the frontage along the river. The guidelines outline requirements for all developments, including a 30’ minimum setback from the river, public access points, and a multi-use path. In addition to upland requirements, the document outlines riverbank, river edge, sloped bank, and vertical bulkhead treatments, so each piece of the river’s edge can be addressed and improved during the riverfront development process. Guidelines for improvements outside of the required setback and transitions between developments continue to encourage a holistic and comprehensive approach. 

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