497-323: Knitting Chicago Neighborhoods across Expressway Boundaries (Cancelled)

Meeting Days/Time
Tuesdays/Thursdays from 6:25 to 7:40 pm
Steve Beck (CAEE) (sbeck.creo@gmail.com)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation


Diverse influences, from politics to traffic engineering, have created expressways that divide and define many Chicago neighborhoods. Blurring these barriers can re-knit divided/struggling neighborhoods and knit new/healthier neighborhoods. Motivating the controlling agencies, from Illinois Department of Transportation to Chicago Transit Authority, can lead to dramatic change and creative use of the expressway air-rights.

The objectives of this IPRO project are:

  • Develop a viable/sustainable approach for knitting the Illinois Medical District (IMD) to the burgeoning Near West Loop
  • Leverage the $3.5B economic engine of the IMD to benefit a larger community
  • Serve as a model to other expressway centric areas in Chicago
  • Bring much needed connections / open space / development opportunities / public benefits
  • Develop neighborhood gateway / icon / identity from the expressway

The approach that the team is expected to take encompasses the following research and development tasks:

  • Research:
    • Previous Illinois Medical District studies
    • Medical district development trends
    • Malcolm X College’s revamp focus on medicine / medical training
    • Blackhawk Community Training Center
    • History of Chicagoland expressways
  • Develop:
    • Proposal to knit the Illinois Medical District (IMD) to the Near West Side
    • Neighborhood gateway / icon / identity from the expressway
    • Financial analysis
    • Stakeholders’ interest / influence
Course Downloads:

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