This weekend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago celebrated the ceremonial opening of the Riverwalk. For the first time since its inception, the entirety of the continuous linear path along the river is officially open, including the newest rooms, the Water Plaza, the Jetty, and the Riverbank.
Blair Kamin, head architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, reviewed the Riverwalk upon its opening. Hailing the Riverwalk as Chicago’s new backyard, he labeled the 1.25 mile walkway as "‘Chicago's Low Line’ — a Midwestern variant of New York's High Line — a linear public space below street level where one simultaneously escapes from the city and gains a heightened awareness of it.”
Curbed also published an article on the project, interviewing Gina Ford, ASLA, design principal on the project, about Chicago’s revitalized and redesigned riverfront. The article connects the Riverwalk to a larger sea change in parks and public space design, and delves into the design details that enabled it to become such a beloved and successful public space.
The Riverwalk is “meant to be a beautiful contribution to the urban landscape, and boost economic development and tourism. But it’s also a great asset to city workers downtown, to come in and just sit and enjoy the sun and the river, to play in the fountain,” said Ford to Curbed.