The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Calendar & Projects


Make Big Plans: Burnham's Vision of an American Metropolis

  Make Big Plans:  Burnham's Vision of an American Metropolis

Exhibit :

The multi-format exhibition includes a photo-panel exhibit that will be simultaneously displayed at more than 60 libraries and other venues throughout the region from June - December 2009 and an online exhibition and slide show that contains the full list of Make Big Plans exhibit venues. Commemorating the publication of Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago, the exhibit emphasizes the Plan's relevance to metropolitan development through the 20th century and into the future. Maps, photographs and illustrations from the plan and other sources will engage broad audiences in the history and implications of Burnham's regional vision.
The exhibit will create a forum for broad public discussion of the 1909 Plan, its impact, continued relevance and the lessons it offers for urban and regional planning efforts in the 21st century. There will be a complementary series of public programs. The exhibition focuses on five central themes:  

  • Planners and Reformers offers an introduction to the plan, its historical context and creators, and its impact nationwide.
  • Rerouting the Metropolis focuses on how the plan envisioned Chicago’s transportation infrastructure and how Burnham’s design crystallized the transportation issues that faced American cities throughout the 20th century.
  • Nurturing Open Space explores the role the plan played in expanding metropolitan Chicago’s public parkland and the lakefront, and its national legacy for open space.
  • City and Region examines Burnham’s insistence that the plan address problems of the city and the region as a single unit and the historical challenges to its regional vision.
  • From City Beautiful to Green Metropolis depicts some of today’s bold plans for addressing critical regional issues – including solutions to challenges in areas such as transportation, conservation, energy, water, and sustainable design.
    Make Big Plans is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Deloitte LLP, and Marsh & McLennan Companies.
  • Program Partners

    Newberry Library

    The Newberry Library provides a home to a world-class collection of books, manuscripts, and maps, and also to a growing community of readers. Our collections, spanning many centuries, feature a wide range of materials, from illuminated medieval manuscripts to rich ...[MORE]

    Burnham Plan Centennial Committee

    Chicago's civic leaders are rallying around the opportunity to continue the legacy of the Plan of Chicago through the Burnham Plan Centennial Committee, chaired by John Bryan and George Ranney with Adele Simmons as Vice Chair. Staff support is provided ...[MORE]

    This program was offered on these dates:
    Exhibit : Friday, June 19, 2009 to Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Newberry Library

    Cost: Free. Click on hot link in program description for the lists of over 60 exhibit venues throughout metropolitan Chicago.

    Website: /newberryexhibit/

    The Burnham Plan Centennial
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