The Chicago River is the distinguishing feature of the North Branch Industrial Corridor (NBIC) that has driven its function and value for more than a century and will continue to do so in the future. However, large portions of the riverfront have long been inaccessible from adjacent neighborhoods due to infrastructure barriers and industrial land use constraints. With the City of Chicago’s commitment to business and job growth,and ongoing efforts to improve the ecology,accessibility and activation of the river,future development in this corridor seeks to establish a beneficial relationship between these two objectives, while also safeguarding operations of existing businesses that provide critical services to the north side of Chicago.

Just as market demand for new types of uses is emerging within the corridor, so too are new types of buildings, land use mixes and publicly-accessible spaces associated with modern employment centers where people are expected to be creative, not just productive. Employers are locating in city center locations where highly amenitized urban settings and public transportation are essential for the attraction, growth and retention of a skilled workforce. This corridor is positioned to accommodate such growth given its combination of unique attributes, including large scale land parcels subject to redevelopment, river orientation, transit accessibility and diversity of adjacent neighborhoods.

In order to coordinate development that maximizes the potential of this area, while safeguarding and improving river water quality and natural habitats, enabling phased investment in city infrastructure, and maximizing use of public transit, this set of urban design guidelines addresses design considerations at the corridor, site and building scales.

Kingsbury 110215 66 5100 crop.jpg