Calumet River Communities Planning Framework

Our framework targets local businesses affected by industry closures. With support from the Chicago Community Trust, we are uniting communities to tackle environmental and economic challenges. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for South Chicago, East Side, and South Deering, addressing health, equity, and economic growth.


Project Information

The Great Cities Institute launched the Great Cities, Great Rivers project in 2014 to show how rivers drive city economies. GCI focused on the Calumet River area, starting with a plan to revive Commercial Avenue in South Chicago in 2015. This plan, released in 2016, aimed to boost local businesses hurt by industry closures along the river and Lake Michigan. During this process, it became clear that the Calumet River area faced environmental and economic challenges needing attention. In 2017, the Chicago Community Trust funded projects aligned with the Our Great Rivers vision, providing an opportunity for GCI to bring local groups together. GCI’s planning framework, funded in part by the Trust, addresses issues in South Chicago, East Side, and South Deering. These areas, divided by the river, share similar challenges. By collaborating, they can prepare for future initiatives, like modernizing the industrial corridor along the Calumet River. The framework highlights community needs, including health, equity, and economic growth, and offers ideas for improvement. We hope this guide will help residents, organizations, and officials work together to enhance Southeast Chicago’s quality of life.

Currently the project team is conducting outreach to develop a community stewardship and governance plan for the site. If you would like to participate in this project and/or provide your thoughts and feedback, please contact GCI or fill out the form.






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