As the construction process for Hudson Yards drags on in New York, we’re glad to see green urban design is alive and well in Chicago. The windy city is no stranger to sustainable building, and this urban park, located on the fringe of the city’s downtown, will certainly give Chicago even more green cred. Perkins + Will, the architects behind the design, developed the park to create more open space for the city, but the greenway also proves to be a pedestrian-friendly gateway that connects the existing downtown to any future development across the Kennedy Expressway.
There is no doubt that Perkins + Will are envisioning greener infrastructure for the future of Chicago. On the surface, they have simply carved out open space for current and future residents of the city, however at closer glance, the architects’ plan for an urban park to span the Kennedy Expressway is also a method for resolving the highway barrier between the city’s downtown and the neighborhoods directly West of the downtown — neighborhoods that would otherwise be dis-connected from the city’s East side green spaces and famous waterfront.
Crossing over the Kennedy Expressway to arrive in downtown Chicago, pedestrians today encounter the loads of carbon emissions and noise that cars create as they drive down the highway. To ameliorate this problem, the architects suggested developing high-rise buildings with vertical green elements and wind scoops to facilitate air movement that would improve air quality. Plants and trees would also reduce noise level, soak up carbon and make the space attractive to strolling visitors.
The proposed promenade would be located over the Kennedy Expressway directly west of Chicago’s downtown. For the map geeks out there, you can find the interactive Google map here.