Calumet Region


GCI is committed to continual engagement in the Calumet Region, including the communities of South Chicago, South Deering, East Side, Hegewisch, and Calumet City. Current and past projects include:



100th Street Calumet River Project


Local community organizers have been interested in river access at this 100th Street Calumet River site dating back as far as 20 years ago. Initial community outreach has identified the site as an opportunity for restoration of the natural riverbank habitat, a trail, and a public viewing area for river activity.





Calumet City Burnham Avenue Corridor Revitalization Plan


Commercial corridors are a vital part of communities as generators and attractors of social and economic activity.





South Chicago’s Commercial Avenue Revitalization Plan


In collaboration with the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area #5, GCI embarked on a 12-month community-based planning process.




Calumet River Communities Planning Framework


This project provides a framework for future planning efforts in Southeast Chicago and focuses on a study area adjacent to the Calumet River from its mouth at Lake Michigan.



Calumet Connect


As part of its ongoing work in South Chicago and the Calumet Region, the Great Cities Institute (GCI) initiated Calumet Connect as a mechanism for various stakeholders in the Calumet River region to actively coalesce in shaping its future.








As for the implementation projects, since the release of South Chicago’s Commercial Avenue Revitalization Plan in July 2016, Great Cities Institute has worked with the UIC School of Architecture to develop visions on the Southeast Side. GCI has helped connect the School of Architecture to community-based design projects through our community partner network. Implementation projects include:



Southern Commercial Avenue Gateway/The Underline

The Underline is a Southern Commercial Avenue Gateway Plaza initiative connecting the South Chicago Community on the north and Vet’s Park to the south. Currently, this strip of viaduct on Commercial Avenue from 93rd to 95th Street, is a dark post-industrial landscape which is both intimidating to pedestrians and a blight of the surrounding neighborhoods.



Northern Commercial Avenue Gateway Park

The South Chicago Chamber of Commerce is interested in building a gateway park near the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Commercial Avenue that establishes an identity for the North end of the corridor.



8600 Block of Commercial Avenue Mixed-Use Concept

The South Chicago Chamber of Commerce and other organizations are interested in developing the 8600 block of Commercial Avenue into a mixed-use performance center that will establish a new brand identity for the Commercial Avenue corridor.



East Side Memorial Plaza

The East Side Chamber of Commerce has asked for visionary plans to transform an underutilized piece of land under the Chicago Skyway into a town square and veterans’ memorial.



Follow us on Instagram (@uicgreatcities) for up-to-date news and photos on Great Cities Institute’s Calumet Region projects.