Our Mission

To Educate, Advocate and Celebrate good design and planning in Downtown Chicago. 


  • To advance the idea that a more educated populace on issues and choices directly equates to a better downtown Chicago.
  • To be a resource for information on challenges and opportunities facing downtown Chicago, especially on issues that are not getting public attention.
  • To be a leader, but also be ready and willing to partner with other local organizations that have similar or complementary objectives.


  • To be a reasoned, reasonable, and respectful voice on issues consistent with our core values.
  • To champion issues that affect the current or future quality of life in downtown Chicago.
  • To be able to engage on matters that are ordinary and on those that are transcendent and precedent setting – major issues of the day or topics that are otherwise being neglected.
  • To choose the topics to pursue on which we can have the greatest influence and effect.
  • To include our membership in review and evaluation, and collaborate with other organizations in advocacy, if appropriate.
  • To strive for consensus, not unanimity.
  • To be a catalyst for action by the government, the private sector, and the governed in ways that improves downtown Chicago.


  • To acknowledge, congratulate, and memorialize success in downtown Chicago.
  • To celebrate things big and small -- ordinary and extraordinary -- physical, conceptual, and temporary – ongoing and commemorative – all the things that make downtown Chicago special.
  • To take a moment from time to time and recognize success and achievement. 

What We've Achieved

As the city’s leading voice for intelligent planning and urban design in Downtown Chicago, our accomplishments have included:

  • Drafting and passing Chicago's Cafe Ordinance
  • Advocacy campaign to save Prentice Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg
  • Monthly brown bag lunchtime lecture series presenting speakers on topics relevant to the history, evolution and future of downtown
  • Annual awards ceremonies recognizing community,  policy and development efforts benefiting downtown
  • Encouraging developers to provide
    sidewalk level retail shops in new
    buildings and to make parking more


Photography by Adam Lund

  • Initiating and growing the Chicago chapter of 'Jane's Walk', an annual pedestrian event celebrating neighborhoods and the work of Jane Jacobs
  • Organizing the zoning coalition to work
    for revisions to Chicago’s outdated
    zoning ordinance.
  • Surveying urban design programs in
    other major cities and leading the eff ort
    to establish urban design guidelines for
    downtown Chicago.
  • Participated in the fight to save the
    Chicago Theatre as part of the North
    Loop Theatre District, and continued
    monitoring of theater operations.