Debating Burnham’s Lakefront Vision

For the last couple of years, Friends of the Parks has been floating a notion to extend Chicago’s lakefront park system to include two miles on both the Side and North sides, with the hope of finalizing a plan by next year’s centennial of the (Daniel) Burnham Plan. As the FOTP points out, “Both the Burnham 1909 Plan of Chicago and the 1972 Lakefront Protection ordinance call for Chicago’s entire lakefront to be public parks.” I take a particular interest in FOTP’s recently published plan to expand the beach 5 blocks from my home, which would also ease my bike commute by reducing the mile of streets I have to negotiate before reaching the lakefront path to a handful of blocks.

On the other hand, my neighbor Philip Bernstein started Stop the Landfill to oppose the FOTP’s plan. Bernstein is neither a paroter of NIMBY resistance nor a run-of-the-mill Edgewater curmudgeon (we have our share), but is, according to Chicago Journal, aretired chief of planning for the Army Corp of Engineers in Chicago.” According to STL, “[A]ny landfill, no matter how “clean” the fill is, would have a very dramatic impact on the ecology…How many animals would die and how long would it take for Lake Michigan to recover and what about the water quality?” Bernstein’s site also expresses concern for the cost of such an expansion and its effect on “real estate values.” I dont’t have a horse in this race, but I’m paying attention now, thanks to a link from EveryBlock. That link is proof further that the new site provides a lot more than just crime reports and links to restaurant reviews.

(The Pilipino Traveler on Foot blog reveals that Burnham also developed a pan for Manila:

The Burnham Plan, which the London Times called “a miracle by an Alladin,” was approved by the Philippine Legislature, which agreed to set aside two million pesos every year for the execution of the plan. When the fund had reached some 16 million, however, President Manuel L. Quezon decided to use the money on irrigation projects instead. Quezon noted that rice fields were more important than fine structures for Manila. Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units were built…”)

3 thoughts on “Debating Burnham’s Lakefront Vision

  1. let’s develop this column a little more! there is a wealth of informaiton on http://www.stopthelandfill.org. Edgewater has more access points and beach front than the GoldCoast and Lincoln Park (approx. 29 vs. 14). Why isn’t FOTP trying to develop these plans right in their own neighborhood? Please rise up this disguised plan to extend Lakeshore Drive!!!

  2. let’s develop this column a little more! there is a wealth of informaiton on http://www.stopthelandfill.org. Edgewater has more access points and beach front than the GoldCoast and Lincoln Park (approx. 29 vs. 14). Why isn’t FOTP trying to develop these plans right in their own neighborhood? Please rise up AGAINST this disguised plan to extend Lakeshore Drive!!!

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