In Riverline, sustainability is a defining principle. Rain water collected from the neighborhood’s rooftops, streets and walking paths is used to fill the wetland that flows throughout the neighborhood, and native grasses and sedges are used in green spaces to create habitats for local wildlife.
Here, we return Chicago’s second coast to the marshland it once was, removing the metal riverwall and restoring its natural riverbank, creating both a riparian ecosystem for aquatic plants and animals, and a natural system of storm water management.
Using nearly 200 distinct species of vegetation, including grasses, sedges, forbs and trees, Riverline’s greenspaces create four ecosystems within the community: mesic prairie, wet mesic prairie, wet prairie, and wet woods. These ecosystems help return the Chicago River’s south branch to it’s pre-industrial state, creating anew home for local plant and animal species.
An innovative water management storage strategy uses the stream that flows throughout the site to convey 100 year stormwater across Riverline and into the neighborhood’s wetland ecosystems. Excess water is cleaned by wetland vegetation before it passes into the neighborhood’s irrigation well and is released into the Chicago River, reducing the impact of downstream flooding, erosion and hazardous pollutants.