Making the Case in Chicagoland

Curated by Bradley McCauley

Brad McCauley is the current President of the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ILASLA) and a Principal and Director of Operations at Chicago-based site design group, ltd. Through a 3-year partnership, ILASLA worked with the Landscape Architecture Foundation to produce case studies of high-performing landscape projects designed by Illinois-based firms. The case studies will be used in ILASLA’s advocacy efforts with city leaders and the state licensing board to show the value of well-designed parks, open spaces, and other sustainable landscapes. Here, Brad highlights key Chicagoland case study projects and their relevance to local issues.

  1. Case Study Brief

    Millennium Park

    Chicago, Illinois

    “This acclaimed park is an excellent example of the evolution of a post-industrial landscape into a well-loved community amenity – one with more than 5 million visitors every year. Located on a former rail yard and parking lot, Millennium Park has contributed significantly to the local economy, spurring extensive residential development nearby, and boosting the traffic throughout the Loop significantly. As one of the most well-known public spaces in Chicago, this park is an excellent example of the power of public space in economic development.”
  2. Case Study Brief

    Palmisano-After

    Palmisano Park / Stearns Quarry

    Chicago, Illinois

    “This 27-acre environmental park, dubbed Mt. Bridgeport, has become a beacon for environmental sustainability within the City of Chicago by converting a formerly decommissioned quarry and landfill into an iconic community park that more than doubles the amount of green space in the neighborhood. Similar in size to Millennium Park, but with 1/50th of the budget, this park shows that the successful collaboration of government agencies, the community, and designers can produce outstanding results.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    Chicago Botanic-After

    Chicago Botanic Garden Lake Shoreline Enhancements

    Glencoe, Illinois

    “Heidi Natura, ASLA, founded Living Habitats in 1990 and has been actively involved in promoting the wise use of natural resources through her planning and design work. Living Habitats works to support projects that range from intimate residential sanctuaries to multi-year stewardship strategies that promote habitat connectivity and seek to create a positive impact on the natural environment at all scales. A major undertaking, the Chicago Botanic Garden Lake Shoreline Enhancements project recreated habitat along 5.7 miles of shoreline. ”
  4. Case Study Brief

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    Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy

    Chicago, Illinois

    “This former brownfield showcases the plethora of sustainable design tools that can be implemented in institutional and educational settings. In particular, the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy is a model for implementing Midwest native landscapes that serve to improve the ecological health of the site and surroundings, while also educating students, teachers, and the public. As we face several environmental challenges such as the decline of the honeybee, urban landscapes that create habitat for pollinators and other wildlife are essential to the long-term health and well-being of cities like Chicago.”
  5. Case Study Brief

    Gary Comer-Sustainable

    Gary Comer Youth Center

    Chicago, Illinois

    “The Gary Comer Youth Center is an exemplary precedent for helping solve the food desert problem which is plaguing so many urban communities across the nation. The working rooftop garden produces more than 1,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables every year, providing food for 175 children at the center every day. In addition to the urban garden, the center also incorporates extracurricular educational programs to help children gain new skills and pursue college and careers.”
  6. Case Study Brief

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    The Morton Arboretum: Meadow Lake and Permeable Main Parking Lot

    Lisle, Illinois

    “Besides preserving and enhancing adjacent Meadow Lake, this flagship permeable pavement project transformed designer perceptions. Prior to construction, the prevailing view of landscape architects, civil engineers and municipalities was that frozen permeable pavement would heave and break its surface in the winter. The Morton entry and 500-car parking lot remained unmoved for three winters, dispelling fears of heaving winter and early spring damage. By 2010, the City of Chicago, several Chicagoland municipalities and institutions successfully built millions of square feet of permeable pavement projects in parking lots, green alleys and streets.”
  7. Case Study Brief

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    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower

    Park Ridge, Illinois

    “With a building expansion came the opportunity to create stormwater gardens and healing gardens for patients, visitors and staff. These therapeutic places incorporate permeable interlocking concrete pavements that store 90% of rainfall events on site. The rooftop-to-surface-to-subgrade-storage design provides multiple paths for managing stormwater.”
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Help build the LPS: Find out how to submit a case study and other ways to contribute.