Sustainable Zoning Laws

The destruction of land in the process of Urban Sprawl is irreversible. Wetlands, coastlines, and other valuable natural areas face the most serious threat. We’re lucky to live in a city that, since Daniel Burnham designed the layout of the 1893 World’s Fair, has preserved our lake shore. He took part in the “City Beautiful” movement and we have Burnham and his staff to thank for our unencumbered lake access and proximal green space (1). To this day, the Chicago Plan Commission will deny any attempt to build East of the boundary line established by the Lake Point Tower building (the tall, black, tube-shaped building next to Navy Pier) (2).

We’ve enjoyed our swimming and jogging privileges, but keeping high-rises away from our main source of water is even better for our health. The water quality improves, contributing to healthy plants and animals in its corresponding environment. Chicago residents also have clean water to use. And by allowing everyone to experience the benefits of a healthy lake, we learn to appreciate it and are more likely to protect this great natural resource. This is especially important; the key to success in many cases of environmental interest is getting people involved, excited, and believing they will make a difference (3).

  1. Wilson, William H. (1989). The City Beautiful Movement. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 126–146
  2. City of Chicago. “Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.” 2016. Chicago Plan Commission. Web.
  3. Roberts, David. “Got Denmark Envy? Wait until You Hear about Its Energy Policies.” Vox. 12 Mar. 2016. Web.



One thought on “Sustainable Zoning Laws

  1. It certainly is nice to have a lakefront that is not crowded by hotels and beachfront stores. It would also be nice if the water that reaches our lakefront did not have a chance to be contaminated with waste. Our sustainability with our lakefront green space should be complimented with the sustainability of our main water source. Whether the blame should be put on our original city-planning or on the policies of the current city government, that is a problem that should be solved in the near future.


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