Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Urban Builder?

"In the years to come, Chicago's many visitors will principally celebrate Richard M. Daley's accomplishments as an urban builder."

Larry Bennett,The Third City: Chicago and American Urbanism

This book cries out for some old-fashioned data -- private investment downtown, public investments in infrastructure and special projects. Data should be over time, perhaps in five-year increments. My sense is the claim about Daley as "urban builder" is probably right, but simply listing projects as evidence doesn't tell the story. Under Harold Washington, the city invested in the Midway El, O'Hare expansion, White Sox Park, and lights at Wrigley Field. There was certainly planning work done on Navy Pier, the "S" Bend, and there no doubt was a McCormick Place expansion underway. What mayor isn't an urban builder -- and the longer you're in office the longer the list.

Oddly, the book says nothing about the failed 1992 World's Fair -- a civic misstep often laid at Washington's doorstep -- the missed mega project. I wonder why

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