The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

About the Centennial

Vision & Theme

The Burnham Plan Centennial celebrates the Bold Plans and Big Dreams that shaped metropolitan Chicago for the past century and challenges our region’s communities, leaders and institutions to build on the success of the Burnham Plan and act boldly together to shape our future.


In 1909, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett collaborated with the Commercial Club of Chicago and others to create a new plan for the greater Chicago region. The year 2009 will be a time to look back 100 years for inspiration, and appreciate the big dreams that led to Chicago’s sweeping lakefront, the “emerald necklace” of County Forest Preserves, and a tradition of thinking comprehensively about the region’s development, always looking to the future.


Today, the challenges of increased congestion and pollution, loss of public lands, and a growing disparity of wealth, give added urgency to Burnham’s call to act regionally, comprehensively, and boldly. The Burnham Plan Centennial celebrates innovative thinking and provides an opportunity for our region’s communities, leaders and institutions to come together to ensure that metropolitan Chicago continues to be one of the world’s best places to live and work.


To succeed in the 21st century global competition for jobs, prosperity, and quality of life for all, we must have inspiring and well-accepted plans to produce action. The Centennial will challenge children and adults throughout the region to make choices today that will define the way we live for the next century. Chicago is set apart by a robust tradition of action, and we have proven that bold, creative regional plans can work; we must do it again!




The Burnham Plan Centennial Committee appreciates the generous support of all of our sponsors.

Plan of Chicago: Plate 87 (detail)

A Festival of Events

The 1909 Plan of Chicago defined a broad region for action: from Kenosha, Wisconsin on the north; to DeKalb, Illinois on the west; to Michigan City, Indiana on the south. The Centennial combines the programs, plans and green legacy projects of hundreds of partners throughout this region during 2009.

Featured Programs

arrow Burnham Pavilions

arrow Make Big Plans Exhibit

arrow Green Legacy Projects

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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