The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

About the Centennial

Open Space

Open space gives a community room to breathe. The region’s open space areas can also form interconnected networks to unite the region across green space. These Green Legacy Projects have made progress on ways to improve and expand open space networks:

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Bloomingdale Trail

Trust for Public Land

The Bloomingdale Trail is one of only a handful of innovative projects in the world that creates new open space in a dense urban neighborhood on abandoned elevated rail lines. Only the second project of its type in the nation and the first in Chicago, the trail runs from the Chicago River to Ridgeway Avenue. [MORE]

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Calumet Open Space Reserve

City of Chicago

Chicago’s Calumet Open Space Reserve Plan is a blueprint for habitat restoration, recreation and trail connections on Chicago’s southeast side, covering 4,800 acres of one of the largest and most diverse natural wetland complexes in the Midwest. [MORE]


Deer Grove Preserve

Forest Preserve District of Cook County

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was created, in part, to carry out the Burnham Plan’s call for protecting valuable natural areas for future generations. The very first land acquired in 1916 was 500 acres of the west side of Deer Grove Forest Preserve. [MORE]


Englewood Open Space Plan and New E.R.A. Trail


A community-wide planning process at the grassroots level in Chicago’s south side Englewood neighborhood has undertaken a comprehensive plan to combine public open space amenities with green development. [MORE]


Hack-ma-tack National Wildlife Refuge


Creating a new national wildlife refuge of up to 10,000 acres spanning the Illinois-Wisconsin state line in the rapidly developing northwest part of the metropolitan area would dramatically advance the Green Legacy goal of preserving regionally significant open space. [MORE]


Heritage Park

Forest Preserve District of Will County

The Heritage Park Plan is a vision that weaves together an eight-mile corridor of green infrastructure features along the Des Plaines River and Illinois and Michigan Canal from Isle a la Cache (135th Street) through Lockport and into downtown Joliet. [MORE]

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Kankakee Sands

The Nature Conservancy

This Burnham Plan Centennial Green Legacy Project has helped enhance local pride in a bi-state region that contains one of the rarest ecosystems on earth—the landscapes at the south end of Lake Michigan where sand and water shifted through the millennia to create rich environments for nature and wildlife. [MORE]

South Patrol Rd Prairie Restoration

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin is the largest protected open space in the Chicago metropolitan region and the largest grassland restoration ever initiated east of the Mississippi River. 19,000 acres of native tall-grass prairie are being preserved and restored. [MORE]

arrow View All Green Legacy Projects

The Centennial was a catalyst for realizing Burnham’s vision for a region-wide system of parks and open space.

Feature Partner: Openlands

Openlands took the lead in working with land management partners to advance a series of Green Legacy Projects that celebrate the lasting influence of Burnham Plan principles and provide a new set of directions.
[View All Openlands Projects]

Watch video by Clarion New Media for more information on Green Legacy projects

The Burnham Blog

To read all blog postings by Patrick T. Reardon related to the Green Legacy projects, click here.

Presenting Sponsor For The Environment

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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