Green Chicago

Hmmm, maybe this is why there was a guy driving around the West Loop looking for targets to beautify Chicago (such as the gravel patch). Mayor Newsome is right, it is beautiful when everywhere you look in Chicago you see planter boxes filled with flowers and various ornamentals. We want to 'green' our roof as well, and an architect is drawing up plans for a fall construction project.

CHICAGO / Newsom wants to make S.F. as beautiful as the Windy City / Trees, planters full of flowers make lakefront metropolis green:
San Francisco may have been the capital of the flower-power movement 40 years ago, but Chicago holds that distinction today.

Flowers -- and trees, climbing vines, shrubs and native grasses -- are ubiquitous in this lakefront city, particularly in the most vibrant commercial corridors.

They are found in hanging pots beneath the rusted elevated train tracks, in parking lots and in the median strips along wide boulevards.

Planter boxes, bursting with living color, dot the sidewalks in front of businesses and homes. Rooftops, including the one atop City Hall, have been turned into gardens.

Mayor Richard Daley, who is now serving a fifth term, has made the greening of Chicago the centerpiece of his administration.

And while the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune once described Daley's initiative as “Martha Stewart-izing'' the city, its success in helping revitalize neighborhoods is hard to ignore. Chicago is shedding its gritty reputation.
”It's made a difference on every conceivable level,'' said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was in Chicago, where he met Tuesday with Daley administration officials and toured the Windy City to find out more about their beautification programs with the intent of replicating them back home. ... At its core, Newsom said, beautifying the streetscape helps build civic pride and a sense of community. If Chicago is an example, there's a ripple effect: less litter, less graffiti, less crime and more reason to visit Chicago or call it home

..“This is about quality of life, for the residents and the visitors,'' said Sadhu Johnston, Daley's point man on environmental issues. ”You see the flowers and the trees, and it's just a nicer place to be. There are also economic benefits. If this is a place people want to be, more people will open businesses here, and more people will come here to shop.''

And then there are the environmental pluses -- street trees take pollutants out of the air, roof gardens insulate buildings, planted medians help capture rain water that otherwise would flow down the storm drains.

As an incentive to get other builders to use recycled materials and incorporate energy efficiencies in their projects, Chicago is starting a new program in which green-building developments will get expedited review and approval of needed planning and building permits.

Tip via Aunt Pat

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on June 15, 2005 3:32 PM.

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