Chicago Riverwalk (Sasaki Associates)

Urban Chicago Riverwalk

There is something rather “fishy” going on in present day Chicago, Illinois. Recently, it has been announced that the federal government is giving a 100 million dollar loan to the city of Chicago to revitalize the Chicago Riverwalk and “reclaim the Chicago River for the ecological and recreational benefit of the city” (Chicago Riverwalk). The plan of the Chicago Riverwalk has been in progress since the 1990s and   in 2011, the chosen design teams began the designs for the next six blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk.

The people of Chicago and environmental groups such as Friends of the Chicago River are enthusiastic about this macroscale project that will expand the Chicago Riverwalk and bring possibly 400 jobs when they’re building it plus 400 more permanent jobs when its fully operable with all the retail, entertainment, and all the other aspects (Mayor Rahm Emanuel). The purpose of this project is to  not only benefit the residents of Chicago but to also reintroduce the Chicago River that has played a critical role in the city’s history as a landscape that is truly integrated in the city.

According to Gina Ford, lead designer of Sasaki Associates, the team responsible for this project embraces a mantra of the life of the river. To incorporate the team’s mantra, the Chicago Riverwalk will add six more themes (a theme per block) to the preexisting four districts named correspondingly to its theme: confluence, arcade, civic, and market. The designers of Sasaki Associates developed the concept plan for the continuation of this project. They are also currently working with Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers, and a broader technical consultant team on the “next millennium project” for Chicago (Mayor Rahm Emanuel). The expectations are indefinitely high of the final outcome of the Chicago Riverwalk.


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