Northerly Island Framework Plan

Northerly Island Framework Plan
Northerly Island

Northerly Island represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring the transformative power of 21st century urban ecology to Chicago's renowned lakefront. A former airport adjacent to the city's Museum Campus, this man-made island is one of Chicago's last tracts of undeveloped open space on Lake Michigan.


Chicago Park District


Chicago, Illinois


Civil Engineering, Coastal Engineering, Community & Regional Parks, Landscape Architecture, Natural Systems & Habitats, Parks & Open Spaces, Parks & Promenades, Sustainable Design, Urban Design, Urban Environments, Urban Planning, Urban Parks & Public Spaces, Waterfront


91 acres

Featured Awards

AIA-IL Sullivan Prize, Illinois' Top Design Award
Waterfront Center Honor Award for Planning
Environmental Design Research Association Great Places Award

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ASLA WI Award of Excellence
ASLA IL Award of Excellence

. . .the Northerly Island Park plan could enrich the experience of Chicago’s great lakefront for generations to come.

Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

Developed in collaboration with Studio Gang Architects, the award-winning plan establishes visionary goals for the park: create a benchmark urban destination exemplifying best practices in ecological sustainability and restoration. To the north, visitors will enjoy a new amphitheater, a harbor walk, and an events pavilion, while the southern half of the park will reestablish native landscapes of prairie, woodland, marsh and savanna.

Northerly Island
Northerly Island
Northerly Island

The park's boldest design element is a barrier reef complex to the southeast, creating a 50-acre freshwater lagoon ideal not only for recreation, but also for establishing new island ecosystems, including a perched wetland and fisheries habitat. When completed, Northerly Island will give Chicago a unique urban eco-park supporting its goal to be the “greenest city in the world."