Changing Course: Revitalizing the Chicago River

Last Wednesday, a group of over 100 environmentalists, architects, outdoor enthusiasts, students, and citizens came out to hear Healthy Water Solutions, Studio Gang Architects, the Great Lakes Commission and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative discuss a revolutionary way to revitalize the Chicago River—by restoring the natural divide between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins. This monumental undertaking would bring incredible benefits not just to Chicago, but also to the Midwest region as a whole.

Separation of the basins would provide the opportunity to tackle multiple problems stemming from our aging infrastructure—issues such as invasive species, flood management, and pollution. At the same time, this renovation would engage people with the river, creating a cleaner and more accessible waterfront for play and industry.


Claire Cahan of Studio Gang Architects provided the audience with her vision for a restored, vibrant riverfront in Chicago.(Photo by Lisa Janes)

PRN Chicago

We want to thank everyone for joining us and showing your interest in one of our city’s greatest resources. A project of this magnitude doesn’t happen alone, so here are a few ways you can help turn this vision into a reality:

  • Sign up for our quarterly newsletter: Our project is evolving as we gather more research and hear from more citizens and stakeholders. You can sign up for more up-to-date news by emailing with “Newsletter” in the subject line.
  • Get social: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out about other events, news, and updates on separation.
  • Join the Healthy Water Solutions coalition: Yes, you! We’re more than environmentalists and architects. HWS consists of interested individuals, local businesses, recreation groups, and other stakeholders. Visit our Get Involved page for access to our guiding principles, and sign on in support of our coalition! If you have the authority to sign up your organization or business, please read our resolutions and email us at

Posted April 6, 2013