Industry-Leading Innovators Build Groundbreaking Standards of Sustainability, Inclusion, and Regeneration at the New Chicago Megadevelopment

MacArthur “Genius Grant” Winner Walter Hoodpioneer of regenerative design Jason McLennan and urban innovation company Sidewalk Labs are helping Bronzeville Lakefront be a transformative example locally and globally

CHICAGO, March 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Bronzeville Lakefront, a 100-acre estate, $8.2 billion ongoing megadevelopment Chicago South Side, designed to be a racially and economically diverse mixed-use community, aims to set new local and national standards for sustainability, inclusion, economic impact and healthy living. To bring this groundbreaking concept to life, the GRIT development team engaged three leading strategic consultants: MacArthur, Genius Grant-winning landscape architect Walter Hood; pioneering architect of regenerative design Jason McLennan; and urban innovation company Sidewalk Labs.

Strategic consultants will help GRIT create a sustainable ecosystem

Bronzeville Lakefront takes its name from the surrounding neighborhood of Bronzeville, which has been known nationally as a thriving center for black arts, culture and entrepreneurship for a century. But the region has suffered disinvestment and population loss in recent decades. For 128 years, this lakeside site held the Michael Reese Medical Centera model of healthcare innovation and equity at its peak.

To honor the site’s important heritage and ensure the development will spur economic growth and attract diverse residents and businesses, Bronzeville Lakefront will offer a wide range of housing, restaurants, offices, wet lab space and nine acres of green spaces for recreational use. Its anchor, the Bronzeville Innovation Center, will include community spaces and be powered by the Chicago ARC, a life sciences accelerator developed in partnership with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, ranked one ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the world by Newsweek.

“Our goal is to not only make Bronzeville Lakefront a vibrant live-work-learn-play community, but also to ensure that it will drive a significant, lasting and far-reaching economic impact on Chicago South Side”, partner of GRIT and development manager of Farpoint Regina Stilp noted. “From regenerating the local economy with thousands of new jobs to setting new standards for green spaces and sustainability, we are trying to create a neighborhood full of opportunity and centered on environmental justice and well-being. to be.”

Landscape architect Walter Hood will help GRIT create a new urban paradigm

Building a new community to achieve ambitious and demanding goals is an important undertaking. “With specializations in environmental design, community development and civic engagement, Walter Hood brings a holistic perspective honed by decades of experience and accomplishments to the project, noted Stilp. “It will help us leverage the native ecology of the site itself, capitalize on local community assets, and implement an inclusive space to create the most effective ecosystem possible. at the edge of the lake of Bronzeville.”

Hood is known for his rare ability to anticipate the elements communities want and need and incorporate them into the public spaces he creates. In 2019, the The MacArthur Foundation made him a Fellow (colloquially referred to as the “Genius Grant”) to “create ecologically sustainable urban spaces that resonate with and enrich the lives of current residents while honoring communal histories”. Hood was also chosen as the first Robert R. Taylor Fellow at MIT for his “pioneering work in environmental design, particularly in the integration of history, race, and urban design” and projects that “stand out for their sustained engagement with diverse local communities”.

Architect by Jason McLennan The Living Building Challenge will promote health and well-being

Regenerative design and nature-inspired architecture sound like ambitious terms in the building industry. Jason McLennanwho has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the built environment with his Living Building Challengebelieves that these approaches not only have a positive impact on communities and real lives, but are also essential to address current issues related to sustainability, environmental justice and climate change.

“When Jason started the Living Building Challenge, the design and construction industry dismissed it as too strict, too difficult, too expensive and too out-of-the-box,” Stilp said. “But Jason is skilled and efficient at fighting tough battles and today there are living buildings all over the world. We ask him to help us advance this progressive paradigm not just in multiple individual structures, but across district-wide Bronzeville Lakefront to create a regenerative and stable environment that also promotes health and well-being.”

McLennan has been widely recognized for his work by the media and major industry organizations. In 2012 he was named Ashoka’s Companion to create new practices in the built environment to improve health and well-being while increasing access to a diverse and productive natural world and also received the Buckminster Fuller Challengefirst world prize for socially responsible design, for the Living Building Challenge.

Think Tank Sidewalk Labs applies AI-powered data to technology solutions

“Sustainability is key to the economic impact and environmental justice we hope to achieve at Bronzeville Lakefront. Maximizing our natural resources is essential, and this requires state-of-the-art infrastructure systems that can adapt to changing community needs,” said Stilp. Explain. “Sidewalk Labs has developed technology solutions that we can use to design and build the most resilient and efficient energy, water, mobility and waste systems possible.”

Many of the solutions and strategies devised or recommended by Sidewalk Labs, which has been absorbed by Google since its engagement by GRIT, are emerging. They will support the creation of a more sustainable and resilient energy system that will harness clean thermal solutions and micro-grids; minimizing stormwater runoff and maximizing recycling efforts from all on-site water sources; analyze all road and transit uses of the development to create efficiencies; and recycle development waste into new products.

To learn more about Bronzeville Lakefront, please visit

About GRIT: GRIT is a joint venture between Farpoint Development, Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Draper & Kramer, Loop Capital, and McLaurin Development to redevelop the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Chicago’s Bronzeville community. The 100-acre, multi-billion dollar development is planned as a vibrant, mixed-use, walkable community to live, work, learn and play with over nine acres of sustainable green space. It will be anchored by the Bronzeville Innovation Center, which will include innovative life sciences, a wet lab and offices and will be powered by the Chicago ARC, a life sciences accelerator developed in partnership with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center and Kaleidoscope Health Ventures.

Media Contact:
Beshanda Owusu
(773) 398-9194
[email protected]


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