TGDA Projects - Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Martin Luther King Jr. Drive: 35th - 51st Street
Chicago's tradition of parks and boulevards stretches over a century, providing the city with a world famous lakefront and its motto "Urbs in Horto" or "City in a Garden." This idea of connecting parks via treed boulevards has renewed importance today. People are commuting by bike and foot and having a shaded, comfortable place to do so is important. As animal habitat decreases world-wide, it is critical that green space can provide pathways for birds and insects to migrate. This two-mile stretch of King Drive, from 35th to 51st, gives people and animals a better chance at moving through the city.

TGDA, working with Bob Benjamin, a former Chicago Forester, is proposing a layered, managed urban forest that shifts its canopy cover over time. As the existing honey locusts die out, subtle mixtures of trees like sycamores and maples, or coffee trees and hackberries, will replace them in uniform patterns. The effort is to emulate the historic elm allees, but create a diverse forest of trees that will withstand the impacts of disease. We all hope this project to be the next legacy Chicago creates, not only as a gateway to the Olympics in 2016, but as a continuation of the grand visions for which this city is famous.