This vision and action agenda for the Chicago, Calumet and Des Plaines rivers was produced by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), in close partnership with the City of Chicago Office of the Mayor, Friends of the Chicago River and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

The Great Rivers Chicago Leadership Commission, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a Resource Group comprised of professionals in water management, infrastructure, transportation, environment, planning, public safety, real estate development and industry dedicated hundreds of hours to share their expertise and perspectives.

More than 6,000 people who live, work and play along Chicago’s three rivers provided thoughtful and in-depth input through nine community meetings, more than 100 focus groups and an online survey that more than 3,800 people responded to.

We are immensely grateful to ArcelorMittal, The Boeing Company, The Chicago Community Trust, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and The Joyce Foundation for their generous support in establishing the vision for Great Rivers Chicago.

Ross Barney Architects, led by MPC Board member Carol Ross Barney, supported our place-based design charrettes and created renderings that bring the vision to life.

Friends of the Chicago River brought people to the river for direct engagement and surveying.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning supported our place-based design charrettes, and will support a second phase of work in late 2016, to engage some 20 suburban communities in examining how the vision can play out where they are.

Thanks also to Free Spirit Media, Wendella Boats and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) for making unique and valuable contributions to the effort.

Leadership commission

  • Michael Borgström
    Wendella Boats
  • Grant Crowley
    Crowley’s Yacht Yard
  • Naomi Davis
    Blacks in Green
  • David Farren
    Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • Jeanne Gang
    Studio Gang Architects
  • Todd Hudson
    Illinois River Carriers Association
  • Allen LaPointe
    John G. Shedd Aquarium
  • Suzanne Malec-McKenna
    Chicago Wilderness
  • Paul Ozinga
    Ozinga Bros., Inc.
  • Arnold Randall
    Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Hipolito (Paul) Roldán
    Hispanic Housing Development Corporation
  • Rebekah Scheinfeld
    Chicago Dept. of Transportation
  • President Mariyana Spyropoulos
    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Kimberly Wasserman-Nieto
    Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
  • Michael Faron
    W.E. O’Neil Construction Company
  • Michael Forde
    Illinois International Port District
  • Michael Holzer
    North Branch Works
  • Michael Kelly
    Chicago Park District
  • Attorney General Lisa Madigan
    State of Illinois
  • Dorri McWhorter
    YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Howard Radzely
    The Boeing Company
  • David Reifman
    Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development
  • Carol Ross Barney
    Ross Barney Architects
  • Alpana Singh
  • Darryl Tom
    Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
  • David Wong
    Certare Ventures

Resource Group

  • Margaret Frisbie
    Friends of the Chicago River
  • Aaron Koch
    City of Chicago Office of the Mayor
  • Lenore Beyer-Clow
  • Mark Bouman
    The Field Museum
  • Joel Brammeier
    Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Cathy Breitenbach
    Chicago Park District
  • David Bucaro
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Suellen Burns
    Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Michelle Carr
    The Nature Conservancy
  • Nelson Chueng
    Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development
  • Lt. Lindsay Cook
    U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety
  • Kathleen Dickhut
    Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development
  • Ronald Dorneker
    Chicago Fire Department
  • Bob Foster
    Chicago Park District
  • John Friedman
    North River Commission
  • Cathy B. Geraghty
    Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Luann Hamilton
    Chicago Dept. of Transportation
  • Benet Haller
    Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development
  • Brad McConnell
    Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development
  • Peter Mulvaney
    West Monroe Partners
  • Steve Pesticelli
    Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Irwin Polls
    Independent Consultant
  • Janis Sayer
    Chicago Dept. of Public Health
  • Allison Schloss
    Chicago Police Dept., Marine Unit
  • Ed Staudacher
    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Deborah Stone
    Cook County Dept. of Environmental Control
  • David Ullrich
    Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
  • Michelle Woods
    Chicago Fleet and Facility Management
  • Louise Yeung
    Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning


  • Josh Ellis
  • Kara Riggio
  • Sarah Cardona
  • Mandy Burrell Booth
    Communications Director
  • Enrique Castillo
    Research Assistant
  • Yonah Freemark
  • Danielle Gallet
  • Ryan Griffin–Stegink
    Assistant Communications Director
  • Chloe Gurin-Sands
    Wayfinding Fellow
  • Leah Konrady
    Research Assistant
  • Angie Leyva
    Program Assistant
  • Elizabeth O’Brien
    AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow
  • Kelley Pinnick
    Research Assistant
  • Kelsey Pudlock
    Project Consultant
  • Jose Requena
    Allard Fellow
  • Madeline Shepherd
  • Daniel Wolf
    Research Assistant

In addition to those listed, Metropolitan Planning Council thanks the numerous staff, research assistants and volunteers on our Board and committees that contributed to Great Rivers Chicago.

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