Chicago Park District


Chicago Harbors Framework Plan

Chicago, Illinois

9 existing and 3 new harbors along 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, 42 km of Lake Michigan shoreline

Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Urban Planning and Design

“SmithGroupJJR came to us with a great reputation for management of complex waterfront projects. This reputation has proven to be well earned.”

—Robert Rejman, Chicago Park District


With its existing harbors at full capacity, the Chicago Park District (CPD) required a plan for the future of Chicago's entire municipal harbor system, one of the largest in the U.S. and a major source of income for the CPD. SmithGroupJJR's interdisciplinary team fused coastal engineering and marina/park design with detailed market and pro forma analysis to create the Lakefront Harbor Framework Plan.

Mapping out the harbor system's future, the plan expands the existing 5,100-boat system by 50 percent over a 20-year period. Extensive public input helped identify the best new harbor locations and physical improvements to serve the needs of boaters and park users.

To advance Chicago's goal of having the greenest harbor system in the nation, the Framework Plan emphasizes innovative stormwater management, green architecture, bio-revetments and more for both new and revamped facilities. The plan also allowed the city to move forward immediately with funding and implementation, including the construction of a major new harbor at 31st Street.