As a part of National Community Planning Month, on October 1, 2015 the American Planning Association (APA) announced the country's 15 Great Places for 2015 through the organization's national program, Great Places in America. Among the recognized 'Great Places' is Chicago's own Millennium Park, recognized in the 'Public Spaces' category.
Launched in 2007, APA's annual list recognizes 15 Great Neighborhoods, Streets, and Public Spaces and recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces — three essential components of all communities. These authentic places have been shaped by forward thinking planning that showcases diverse architectural styles, promotes community involvement and accessibility, and fosters economic opportunity.
A Remarkable Transformation
Our hometown winner, Millennium Park - is without question one of the most spectacular places in downtown Chicago and arguably one of the most recognizable parks in the world. For many years, two-thirds of the site that is now home to Millennium Park was controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad. Today, the 24.5-acre modern park is the centerpiece of the city, featuring performance facilities, public artwork, and majestic gardens.
Once an industrial wasteland, Millennium Park's remarkable transformation can be properly attributed to careful planning and thoughtful design. Considered a crowning achievement of Millennium Park, and award winner in it's own right, is Lurie Garden. The Lurie Garden in is an urban oasis emerging from a harmonious blend of symbolism, landscape design and ecological sensitivity. Its design pays homage to Chicago’s transformation from flat marshland to innovative green city, or “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden).
According to the APA, "Our Great Places in America designees reflect the many facets that make up planning, including community engagement, economic benefits and quality of character," said Carol Rhea, FAICP, president of APA. "These exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces showcase the positive outcomes when a community works together to create communities of lasting value. It is an honor to recognize these outstanding places during National Community Planning Month and add to our distinguished list of great place designees."
What 'Great Place' is Your Favorite? Join In!
The APA invites the community to participate with input for the "People's Choice" designee which will be awarded on November 2. Citizens can nominate their favorite Great Place out of the 15 places, by commenting on APA's Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram feed using hashtag #greatplaces.
View the full list of 2015 Recognized Great Places by clicking here.