Chicago has a long history of innovation on our rivers. From the channelization and reversal of the Chicago River to the construction of some of the world’s first moveable bridges, we have always been up to the challenge of making our rivers work better for us. 

Chicago is already hard at work reimagining our rivers again! Recent visioning, investments, and development along the riverfront, such as the Riverwalk, modernized boathouses, and the Great Rivers Chicago initiative, have shown us how our riverfronts can be exciting hubs of entertainment, recreation, and business. 

Nine world-class architectural firms with experience designing award-winning riverfronts, parks and public spaces were asked to submit concepts for a unified river edge.  Each firm has created their visions for three iconic sites along the Chicago River, with each site representing a typical edge condition: a building edge, an open space edge, and a bridge edge. The challenge for the firms was to seamlessly connect these various edge conditions and to provide inviting and active public spaces along Chicago’s river, the city’s second coast.

For more information about the River Edge Ideas Lab and to view submssions from all nine participating architecture firms, please visit