Mayor Lightfoot Announces Updated Plans for Future of Lakefront Museum Campus

Areal View of proposed Museum Campus Improvements from the Mayors Office

On July 7th, the office of Mayor Lori E Lightfoot issued a press release including a report detailing future plans for the iconic Chicago Museum Campus. The Mayor’s office unveiled a museum campus working group in February to help present recommendations “for new campus activations through arts and culture, transportation, education, youth services, and more.” The working group is composed of leaders and policymakers from around Chicago with experience in “key issue areas.” Their focus includes solving for needed cultural amenities, expanding publically accessible recreation space, maximizing athletic facilities, and creating more equitable transit access.

An improved 18th Street Station will create a distinct sense of arrival while improving bike and pedestrian connectivity to
the west and amplifying the Campus’ new branding. Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, 2022.

The latest release regarding the Museum Campus includes the most up-to-date iteration of these plans including renderings and more clarity on how this revival could unfold. The report consists of over thirty-five recommendations for the city to consider implementing as a means to improve the current campus experience.

The Museum Campus – the Present layout via the Where Worlds Connect report

Much of the group’s recommendations focus on driving more traffic to the campus by improving access, emphasizing and reimagining outdoor space, and re-energizing Soldier Field. Utilizing native species in landscaping is also a crucial point of the plan. The report says that in order to “unify the campus experience, the working group recommends implementing a coordinated landscaping approach using native vegetation.” The thought here is that by coordinating and collaborating across institutions, this landscaping effort will not only tie the campus together, but it would also position the Lakefront campuses as models for sustainability and highlight Chicago’s ongoing role as “a leader in urban climate resilience.”

Diagram of the Urban Nature Retreat improvements proposed for the Museum Campus.
Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, 2022.

Moving the Campus’ music venue to the North Lawn would use the amenities at Soldier Field and position visitors closer to transportation. Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, 2022.

Rendering of an improved Harbor Walk with increased pedestrian and bike access, sitting areas, and native landscaping.
Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, 2022.

The campus revitalization efforts outlined in the report are multi-year endeavors. There are a number of initiatives that could be accomplished on a shorter-term timeline, however, the more transformative elements of the proposal “will require long-term focus with meaningful and authentic engagement.” As of yet, full funding for the plan has not been articulated making an anticipated timeline difficult to predict.

Subscribe to YIMBY’s daily e-mail

Follow YIMBYgram for real-time photo updates
Like YIMBY on Facebook
Follow YIMBY’s Twitter for the latest in YIMBYnews


3 Comments on "Mayor Lightfoot Announces Updated Plans for Future of Lakefront Museum Campus"

  1. Solidarity drive lol

    • Named to commemorate the Solidarity Movement which led Poland out of communist rule. Chicago is a Polish city.

  2. Steve River North | July 11, 2022 at 10:17 am | Reply

    I like the foot bridges midway and at the southern end for getting over to Northerly.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.