The Open Space Section of HED's Sustainable Development Division works to increase the amount of publicly accessible open space in Chicago. The section's policies are driven by existing open space shortages in the city's 77 community areas. According to the 1998 CitySpace Plan, half of the community areas have less than two acres of open space for every 1,000 residents, well below national standards.
The Open Space Section works with other city agencies to expand the city's open space inventory by targeting city-owned sites, tax-delinquent properties and, where necessary, privately-owned land for public use. Following an environmental analysis and remediation work that may be required, the sites are transferred to the Chicago Park District for new parks or to the NeighborSpace land trust for community-managed open space purposes.
New public open spaces are also created around city schools through the section's Campus Park Program; around Lake Calumet through the Calumet Open Space Reserve; and along the Chicago River through strategically targeted aquisitions, new connections to existing open space assets, and a 30-foot setback ordinance required for projects built along inland waterways. The combined strategies have produced hundreds of acres of new open space for public use.
Open Space Plans: