Chicago in 2034: City projects make for a bright urban outlook - KMSP-TV

Chicago in 2034: City projects make for a bright urban outlook

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

"Make No Small Plans" was the advice of Chicago's first and most famous urban planner, Daniel Burnham. He was born in the 19th Century.

But a look at some of the projects currently underway and on the drawing board show that spirit endures here in the 21st Century.

"I'm very optimistic," Huffington Post Chicago associate editor Kim Bellware told FOX 32 News.

Bellware, an urban optimist, pulled together a list of nine big developments that she says capture the promise of what Chicago could look like two decades from now, in the year 2034.

Among those already underway: A massive public-private renovation and greening of century-old Navy Pier, adding a new East End entertainment district with theaters, restaurants, taverns, convention meeting spaces and a new East End Park, among other improvements.

Partially opening this year: The "606", a $91 million conversion of a former elevated rail line into a linear park connecting Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

Breaking ground this year: The next phase of the downtown Chicago Riverwalk. Once a virtual open sewer where hardly anything could survive, a much cleaner Chicago River now hosts kayakers and dozens of species of freshwater fish. On its banks: A growing number of restaurants and tourist-oriented developments.

Bellware included on her list some projects that may never be built, including the $1 billion Chicago Spire. Renowned architect Santiago Calatrava designed it to be the Western Hemisphere's tallest building at 2,000 feet high, but it's been in and out of bankruptcy.

"They've had all sorts of funding issues. Recently, they've had some good news," Bellware said. "It looks like they will be able to move forward and secure some funding. So, the project is back from the dead."

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