Jackson Park, Chicago, IL

For Chicago Park District and Project 120

Addressing the renowned Jackson Park, site of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition on the shores of Lake Michigan, Heritage Landscapes served as preservation landscape architects on a talented interdisciplinary team. Together we developed design and construction documents reasserting historic character, improving habitat, welcoming daily uses, and containing park maintenance requirements toward a sustainable 21st century public park. The five-year project achieves:

  • Analyze park history to define late 1890s Olmsted landscape character
  • Establish landscape character parameters for an Olmsted-aligned ecological restoration
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary team to produce construction drawings
  • Apply SOI Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties for park rehabilitation
  • Develop plantings, shorelines, access paths, overlooks, and sound mitigation dune berms
  • Begin Jackson and Washington Parks Framework planning with community engagement
  • Prepare preliminary designs for Jackson Park Great Lawn and Music Court

The Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) project was enabled by a private-public-civic partnership addressing this historic public landscape and waterscape. The team synchronized project plans to simultaneously achieve the often-incompatible objectives of attaining historic character, habitat diversity, ease of management and inclusive uses. Extensive native plantings, 1500 trees, 1M+ herbaceous plants and plugs, hundreds of pounds of seed, to enrich terrestrial and aquatic habitats the performance of the landscape will improve the quality of air, water and soil. The park restoration elevates perceptions, increases use and ripples outward to foster intensive adjacent land use and create positive effects within the South Side neighborhoods.
In 2015 and 2016, Heritage Landscapes led efforts to develop preliminary Jackson and Washington Parks Framework Plans for the Chicago Park District and Project 120 with community and stakeholder engagement workshops and surveys.


Jackson Park Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration, 2014-2016; Jackson and Washington Parks Framework Plan, Great Lawn & Music Court Design, 2015-2016.


Heritage Landscapes, Chicago Park District, US Army Corps of Engineers, contractor Applied Ecological Services.


Jackson Park has met all performance criteria in Year 5 and the project is a huge success. THANK YOU for restoring resilient native plant communities while integrating both the ecological integrity of Chicago region habitats and the Olmsted-designed character of historic Jackson Park!

Robbie Sliwinski, 2009

Botanist/Ecosystem Restoration, Chicago District, US Army Corps of Engineers