Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Policies and Guidelines


2015 Honor Award


Chicago, IL


City of Chicago, Department of Transportation


Planning and Analysis

Landscape Architects

Project Details

In response to the challenges of global climate change, Chicago’s Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Policies and Guidelines (SUIG) suggests guidelines for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining a safe, livable, and sustainable city through best management practices and multi-modal planning. In an effort to lead the nation in the innovation and demonstration of sustainable and green infrastructure, SUIG establishes a citywide approach for integrating environmental performance goals into infrastructure design, as well as a five-year implementation plan for all Department of Transportation projects.

The SUIG document is composed of two separate sections: Volume 1 lays out explicit sustainability goals, and illustrates how different strategies complement one another. It describes how the treatment of Chicago’s infrastructure can serve multiple sustainable goals within the realm of the public right of way and how to pull multiple ideas together to form a coherent, effective project. The requirements and policies are described in detail, setting effective dates as they increase in complexity over the next several years. Volume 2 outlines specific strategies, references, and resources to help the audience accomplish the sustainability goals. Technical details, case studies, step-by-step implementation processes, and resource links illustrate each strategy.

SUIG describes the City’s progressive requirements and policies for each infrastructure project type along with detailed strategies that will optimize sustainable impacts. The guidelines are organized around eight categories: water; energy; materials and waste; climate and air quality; beauty and community; urban ecology; and commissioning. Each of the categories has environmental objectives which are implemented through more than 60 specific requirements and 35 policies.

The guidelines are integrated with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets Chicago Design Guidelines, published in 2013. Together, these documents comprise a progressive vision for implementing sustainable infrastructure for all of Chicago. The SUIG document works to create a comprehensive process, from project selection through maintenance and commissioning, and incorporates a wide range of physical, socio/economic, and environmental data analysis.

Project Team: Parsons Brinckerhoff

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