- Economic Development and Job Creation
- Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
- Transportation Options
- Water and Waste Water
- Parks, Open Space and Healthy Food
- Waste and Recycling
- Climate Change
While it is important to acknowledge that this Sustainable Chicago 2015 initiative is clearly ground breaking on both a national and international level, the fact remains, at the present time, a small handful of select people at the moment are benefiting financially from any of its seven stated themes whereas the masses are most certainly not.
Here are the themes again as they are so colorfully defined in this link. When reviewing the list of goals as they are defined on this link, all of them are again, clearly admirable, but, as one reads through the description of the progress that has been made on these goals in just two years, it becomes perfectly clear that a broad host of stumbling blocks, or, questions pertaining to wholesale implementation across the entire economic swath that is Chicago, remain entirely unresolved.
Here is the link to this efforts first six month progress report.
3. Transportation Options/ Sustainable Chicago 2015
BUS RAPID TRANSIT EXPANDS QUICK, RELIABLE, CONVENIENT STREET TRANSPORTATION
Let's say the journey will begin at Austin Avenue and Lake Street which is of course the intersection where the village of Oak Park, Illinois comes to greet the Chicago neighborhood of Austin on the far west side of Chicago. This is also the intersection above which the Chicago elevated GREEN LINE train brings a whole bunch of folks daily into downtown Chicago and as far south as Hyde Park which is of course another Chicago neighborhood.
For the sake of this particular story, let's say that the horse and the saddle were housed in a solar powered and solar heated barn that had been built beneath the Green Line for 21st century urban horses. Let's also say that while these horses were not permanent residents of this Austin/Oak Park stable,complete with tack room this stable was merely a staging area for those who lived in Austin and Oak Park and River Forest and Maywood, Illinois who owned horses and used them for both business and pleasure to get into and out of downtown Chicago.
If you have ever driven beneath the Green Line “L-Trac” that goes from Austin and Oak Park to downtown Chicago then south to Hyde Park, you will have most obviously have noticed the massive architectural masterpiece that is the superstructure of the Green Line that floats some 18' to 20' above Lake Street as you travel east and Wabash Avenue as you travel south from downtown all the way to Hyde Park. Whereas this massive structure is profoundly all encompassing to look at from the viewpoint of either a structural engineer or architect, from the viewpoint of an anthropologist, the breakdown of the social cultures that inhabit the streets beneath that structure is equally dramatic.
In the same breath, and, if you were a transportation engineer, you would look at the street beneath the Green Line from a variety of transit oriented perspectives. As this particular story is about how Chicago's public transportation network needs to be entirely rethought in the 21st century, let's for a moment focus on the fact that the street beneath the Green Line consists of a two lane road that vehicles traverse daily in two different directions heading east and west to and from Austin and Oak Park and downtown Chicago and then due south on Wabash for a while before the elevated Green Line travels on a rather narrow right of way that dissects residential neighborhoods on its way to Hyde Park.
On either side of these two lane thoroughfares are addition parking lanes. So in all, there are four lanes of roadway that are supposed to carry people who drive in either personal cars and trucks as well as commercial delivery vehicles 20' feet below an elevated train line that is essentially designed to do the damned thing.
As the question might possibly arise that perhaps there might be a better use of this redundant transportation corridor, remember, we are on a horse, it's the year 2016, and, we are discussing the fact that Chicago's entire public transit network has to be reworked and done so from a decidedly green, mixed energy based 21st century point of view. Yes, we are on a horse, and of all things horses do, one of those things they do is produce “horse shit”.
Unfortunately, before a horse can produce horse shit, the poor thing has to be fed horse food, but, as I started this story out stating that every single need of the horse, the saddle and the rider would be met along this one month journey through Chicago's neighborhoods, providing horse food and figuring out what to do with horse shit is part of this very progressive and legally binding 21st century contract the horse, the saddle and the rider entered into with the folks who are supposed to be managing the whole sustainable economic vision of Sustainable Chicago 2015.
If you have ever ridden a horse, you will note that unlike the strictly mandated roads and highways America's vehicles travel upon, horse trails do not have specific dimensions applied to them. Whereas I believe the required lane width for an interstate highway is either 12' or 15' and the same requirements for say, the road beneath the Green Line in Chicago are slightly less, for a horse, a road of such width is entirely irrelevant whereas the surface of the road the horse is trotting upon most certainly is, As again, for the sake of this story we are simply using a horse to gain a perspective on advanced technology applications to urban transit in our 21st green urban century, from the perspective of the trotting horse traveling east from Austin and Oak Park to downtown Chicago, then due south to Hyde Park all beneath the Green Line now entirely devoid of both asphalt and motorized vehicles, bicylists, runners, dog walkers and urban gardeners are free to co-mingle with the extremely light duty urban utility vehicles that occasionally share the Lower Green Line right of way to do among other things, transport the horseshit to the micro-biofuels collection points strategically integrated into the micro industrial neighborhood zones blueprinted by Chicago's zoning authority along the way. As this particular transportation corrider is but one of virtually identical dead transportation corridor vacuums found either beneath or alongside of existing and oft repeated transportation arteries throughout Chicago, the sheer diversity of mixed transportation types, mixed transportation fuel types, and, most importantly mixed destination outcomes is indeed a significant aspect of what should be an integral part of neighborhood revitalization throughout every single one of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods.
In the same breath, and, as thus far this story has been about the horse traveling upon the roadway beneath the Green Line, the Green Line itself once free of the redundant socioeconomic negativity, confusion, violence and poverty that exists currently on the streets beneath the Green Line can once again go back sociologically in time to become a lovely elevated train that simply takes people from throughout Chicago, the midwest, the rest of America and the world to places such as the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry when in fact it is not serving as a transit corridor for working Chicagoans.
As again the benchmark for establishing a 21st century public transportation network is in many ways getting back to what for all practical purposes is or was at the elegant sociological core of 19th century transportation luxury, we are in America, most certainly again ready to hunker down and create the regulatory framework that enables all of this to happen.
Yes, all of what I am saying is flowery horseshit, but, horseshit is both a municipal infrastructure defining, and, revenue generating bio fuel, as it is as well, a great acidic fertilizer for a sandy soiled bed of organic urban roses, chrysanthemums and a wide variety of garden herbs. As again Chicago was built on a swamp and sandy soil abounds, regionally specific imported organic compounds or home grown, neighborhood based organic compounds produced by horses or food parts, or municipal vegie and herb garden waste, harvested and capitalized on from within, might be at least one of the keys to refinancing the re-imaging and subsequent reconstruction of Chicago's entire passive and relaxing 21st century public transportation elevated train as well as it's roadway based CTA bus traffic infrastructure model.
When considering the fact that portions of this elevated electric Green Line could be covered with a roofing structure and the area between the structural columns could be enclosed with either solid or glass curtain walls, more than likely, the success of doing so would hinge on the successful development of the real estate running alongside the Green Line. As such, lets for a moment discuss a livery stable, or, perhaps a few livery stables dotting the path of the Green Line. Heated by the sun, powered by the sun and watered by the rainwater coming from the pedestrian train platforms above the enclosed stable, no doubt the horses would be quite comfortable whereas attaching enclosed patio gardens would make the horse people and the bike people and the people who drove light duty urban recreational or commercial service vehicles just as comfortable as to would such an enclosure keep people waiting for CTA city buses or energy efficient private Chicago taxi cabs that intersect the Green Line Organic Transit Corridor more comfortable as well.
All of this is good.
When however, one looks closely at the overall list of consumer products and associated services of all of these new found Green Line travelers would both want and need to take advantage of, neighborhood based economic growth becomes just as diverse as the collective body of both transportation based and architectural based technologies that are integrated into the corridor as well. In the same breath, a broad host of both recreational as well as entertainment based venues sprout up along the corridor accordingly.
As for the horse there are bridle and tack shops and urban horse feed stores.
- INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PUBLIC SPACES AND PARKS ACCESSIBLE FOR CHICAGOANS
- INCREASE OPTIONS FOR ACCESSING LOCAL OR HEALTHY FOOD IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD
- IMPROVE AND PROTECT CHICAGO’S NATURAL ASSETS AND BIODIVERSITY
- FARMERS FOR CHICAGO NETWORK SUPPORTS URBAN ENTREPRENEURS
- A RECIPE FOR HEALTHY PLACES” PRESENTS SIX COMMUNITY-BASED PLANNING STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT HEALTHY EATING
- LOCAL RESTAURANT NAMED GREENEST IN AMERICA
- BRONZEVILLE CULINARY INCUBATOR RECEIVES $400,000 TO INSTALL GREEN ROOF, CISTERN, AND PERMEABLE PAVEMENT
- SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS PROVIDES WORKFORCE TRAINING, TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT, AND FRESH PRODUCE FOR FAMILIES
- HUNDREDS OF PLAYGROUNDS TO BE REBUILT AS PART OF INVESTMENTS IN PARKS AND RECREATIONAL AREAS
- $1 MILLION INVESTMENT LEARNING GARDENS AT 60 CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- PARTIAL FUNDING SECURED FOR BLOOMINGDALE TRAIL
- HABITAT RESTORATION AND CAMPGROUND CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NORTHERLY ISLAND
- ACTIVATE COMPETITION CHALLENGES ARCHITECTS TO DESIGN COST-EFFICIENT, DYNAMIC PUBLIC SPACES
- CROSS-SECTOR COLLABORATION DEVELOPS CLIMATE-SMART ADAPTATION STRATEGIES FOR GREEN SPACES
- INCREASE ACCESS TO RECYCLING AND IMPROVE POLICIES TO PROMOTE WASTE REDUCTION AND RE-USE
- INCORPORATE STANDARD GREEN PRACTICES IN ALL CITY OPERATIONS
- BLUE CART RECYCLING EXPANSION BRINGS BI-WEEKLY CURBSIDE PICKUP TO 131,000 ADDITIONAL HOUSEHOLDS
- PAPERLESS “E-PROCUREMENT” PROCESS IS REDUCING WASTE AND SAVING MONEY
- CITY ROLLS OUT 7TH PHASE OF GRID GARBAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM
- COUNTY ORDINANCE ON DEMOLITION DEBRIS DRIVES NATIONAL LEADERSHIP ON LANDFILL DIVERSION
- THE REBUILDING EXCHANGE GROWS IN SIZE AND MISSION WITH A NEW 24,000 BUCKTOWN FACILITY
- SCHOOLS COLLECT ORGANICS TO REDUCE LANDFILL WASTE
Please take the time to visit some of my other essays.
Establishing True Green Market Valuation of America's Non Green Housing Stock
The Birth of 21st Century Housing, Transportation and Public Utility Infrastructure Corporations
Leveraging and Energizing America's Apprenticeship Programs/Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2015