The Burnham Plan Rediscovered: A Look at Local Development in the City of Chicago

April 8th, 2010

The Burnham Plan of 100 years ago is still important today.  It created what we know as the “Loop” and instituted the idea of large public works and projects. The Burnham Plan introduced private funding with public support, which is an important factor for the Burnham Plan of today. We intend to focus on aspects that the first Burnham Plan failed to emphasize, such as a broader social policy for the city. This anniversary plan of today must focus on localized social and urban planning while integrating these factors into the larger “macro” picture.  One hundred years ago Chicago had space enough to focus on large public works in the Loop; today development must be local, making use of institutions already in place, i.e., the third sector which needs to be integrated into the Burnham Plan of today. We have three concentrations that we want to consider: public space and or works, the financial systems to support these public aspects, and the political systems, which can facilitate these changes.  The third sector encompasses organizations acting at a local level to assist the communities in which they are based.  This third sector can include various not-for-profits, museums, cultural or community centers, and even local banks or institutions that specialize in loans to local projects or in micro-finance.   While these institutions already exist in some areas of Chicago, no comprehensive evaluation of the potential for interconnectivity between the three aspects mentioned above has ever been completed.  This is what we plan to accomplish.

William Dinneen, ’12 Cheyenne, WY
Major: Politics

Jacqueline Fisk, ’12 St. Paul, MN
Majors: French, Sociology and Anthropology, International Relations

Anders Swanson, ’12 Western Springs, IL
Major: Mathematics and Statistics, K12 Certification

Sponsor: President Les Garner

Comments are closed.