"Make no small plans." ... Daniel Burnham
Visionary urban designer and planner of the
1883 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
As a big fan of Chicago -- its stellar architecture, splendid art museums, Lake Michigan panorama, and Italian food (!) -- I am delighted to hear that the city is planning to build a downtown line of sleek aerial gondolas that will thread their way through its iconic highlights. "The Skyline", expected to be a striking and lucrative tourist attraction, will link the Navy Pier, the city's Lakefront and its Riverwalk, via the heart of downtown. (see map below)
Below: The envisioned sleek glass pods would serve both as
viewing points for, and elements of, Chicago's much-celebrated architecture.
Business leader Lou Raizin, one of the main planners of this project,
said at a recent City Club of Chicago meeting:
"The Skyline [project] is a prime example of how we can move Chicago from old guard to vanguard. We keep coming back to the same question: What's our unique feature? Where's our Eiffel Tower? Where's our Big Ben? These ideas are our attempt to answer
this question and are intended to start a conversation in the city about what we
would like our reputation to be in the future ... We need to think iconic.
We need to be bold."
Above: Artist's rendering of cable car line suspended alongside the river
Raizin, along with his colleague Laurence Geller, sees potential for the cable car line to draw up to 1.4 million visitors annually to their cash-strapped city.
"Tourism, " says Geller, is the best way of quickly impacting the city's revenues
and improving the quality of life for our residents." It is estimated that the cable line
would cost $250 million and would be paid for by a public-private partnership.
No date has been set for groundbreaking on this project, and there will
surely be many bureaucratic hoops to jump through, but I'm
keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen within the decade!
To watch a dreamy video of an imagined tour on the Skyline, link here.