New Urban District

A new urban district of 50,000 people is anticipated between North and Webster Avenues and 90,000 people already live within a half mile of the corridor today.  Large-scale, publicly-owned open space is essential for livability at this dense urban scale.



New Chicago Neighborhoods

New neighborhoods will emerge where none existed before in former manufacturing districts on both sides of the Chicago River.  Public access to the riverfront on city-owned land with connections to existing neighborhoods is essential to the long-term benefit of Chicagoans. 



Understanding the 60-Acre Framework


The North Branch Framework states that “60 acres of new, publicly accessible open space is envisioned through a variety of public and private improvements…….  Of this, 10 acres should be created for single-purpose activities, such as skate parks and athletic fields.” 

This breaks down as follows: 

25.5 ACRES = River Trail 30’ Setback x 7 Miles  (Assumes EVERY parcel along the riverfront is redeveloped to achieve this acreage.)

17 ACRES = North Branch Canal and Turning Basin Wetland Park  (1 mile of boardwalk in canal water and 2.5 acres of wetland located around 14.5 acres of river water)

17.5 ACRES = “Civic Spaces” as Part of Private Development (Tribune Site, Greyhound Site, 2FM Site, Finkl Site, Ashland & Webster Site)

There is no provision for publicly-owned, large-scale recreational parkland in the North Branch Framework. 


North Branch Visioning


This image depicts current conditions within the North Branch Corridor looking south from Webster Avenue towards downtown.


North Branch Visioning

This image depicts the allowable density enabled by the North Branch Framework with buildings located along the 30’ river setback.

Note:  This image does not represent specific development proposals by the City of Chicago or real estate developers. 


North Branch Park & Nature Preserve

This image demonstrates how contiguous, underutilized brownfield sites could be assembled and transitioned into a 24-acre public amenity that serves all Chicago residents and enhances the ecology of the Chicago River. 

Note:  Development density could be transferred from the park site to adjacent land in order to achieve the City’s overall growth goals.