Activate Your Riverfront

A resource guide for riverfront activation

What is this resource guide?

This resource guide is a tool to help you get started in activating your stretch of the riverfront. It includes information and links about developing an idea,, tips for implementation, agencies and stakeholders you may need to work with, and strategies for getting your project funded. This resource guide can help you get you started, and point you in the right direction to begin working on your riverfront project!


Why should I activate my riverfront?

The City of Chicago exists because of our rivers. “For most of our history, our 150-plus miles of river and riverfront have been abused and polluted, used mostly for transportation, industry and wastewater. Fortunately, since the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the 1979 founding of Friends of the Chicago River, how we view our rivers has been changing. Increasingly clean water has brought a surge in recreational use, a return of critical species, and a desire to re-orient ourselves toward the rivers.” - Our Great Rivers Vision

Our Great Rivers, a vision for the future of Chicago’s three rivers, the Chicago, Des Plaines, and Calumet rivers,  was released in 2016. It captures Chicagoans’ desires to use the rivers for recreation, economic development and neighborhood activities, like picnics, concerts, and clean-up days. It is up to each of us, as river stakeholders , to create and care for active, vibrant places along our rivers, and  make them productive, living, and inviting places.

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