WE ❤️ DESIGN. Tours, exhibits, programs and events about Chicago architecture. Formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
The lakefront is Chicago’s beauty, its wonder and its playground. Very few cities can boast the beauty of 26 miles of shoreline parks—and the breathing space they provide to over nine million people who live in this region. Those parks didn’t just happen: one of the strongest themes in Chicago history is the claiming and reclaiming of the lakeshore for the health, well being and enjoyment of its people.
In the 1909 Plan of Chicago, Daniel Burnham laid out his vision of an unbroken shoreline park stretching the entire length of the city. Yet, the dream is unfulfilled. Four miles are not part of the lakefront park system—two at the north and two at the south.
Instead, they are off limits to the public—undeveloped, unconnected or simply fenced off. The Last Four Miles initiative, launched by the Friends of Parks, is a vision for closing those gaps and renewing the civic commitment to complete Chicago’s public lakefront parks.