The Legacy of the Plan of Chicago

July 21, 2009

Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago was phenomenally important to today's city. The lakefront parks, the forest preserve system, Wacker Drive, and the Magnificent Mile all owe their origins to this famous (but often misunderstood) document. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Burnham's plan, groups across the region are hosting celebrations this year to spotlight the Plan's history and energize today's regional planning efforts. These celebrations provide an equally important opportunity to recognize the civic leaders and technicians — beyond Burnham — who brought the Plan to life in the early 20th century and shaped the Chicago we know today.

In this program, Dennis McClendon, from Chicago CartoGraphics, shared pictures of the Chicago that faced the planners a century ago, the grand visions they had for the city, and what actually resulted from the Plan of Chicago.

PowerPoint presentation (ppt)

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)


Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon is a Chicago geographer and historian, and a former APA staffer. He is the author of a booklet titled The Plan of Chicago: A Regional Legacy, which is being distributed by the Burnham Plan 100 organization and is available as an online exhibit at