Are low-lines and Emerald Constellations the future of Chicago?

Low line rendering for Lakeview Area Master Plan

What should a shrinking, post-Daley Chicago look like? Curbed is keeping its eye on a couple of concepts — one commissioned from a local Chamber of Commerce, the other developed solely for the purposes of a contest — that would adapt, reuse, and green up established neighborhoods and empty industrial lots.

One, the Lakeview Area Master Plan, or LAMP, will be presented this evening at St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1500 W Belmont Ave. According to a preview from the Roscoe View Journal, the plan offers suggestions for making the Intersection at Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland more inviting to pedestrians, providing a dedicated space for farmers markets, a re-imagined triangle plaza at Lincoln and School, and a low-line pedestrian path (shown above) running underneath the Brown Line elevated tracks, connecting the Southport and Lincoln Avenue business districts. The plan’s organizer says it requires no rezoning or changes to private or vacant properties; however, the plan is currently unfunded and will require cooperation from the city and CTA.

The other is the winner of a contest sponsored by MAS Studio and the Chicago Architectural Club, in which international planners and architects were asked to rethink the city’s “Emerald Necklace” of boulevard systems. The winners — Kees Lokman, Fadi Masoud and Conor O’Shea — spent more time focusing on converting unused industrial land into an “Emerald Constellation” of parks (below), including a 62-acre green space designed for the old Rezmar property along the river in the South Loop. Naturally, this is all a big “What If?”

Emerald Constellation

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