Talk: Beyond the High Line: Transforming Chicago

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Monday, June 18, 2012 - 11:30am to 12:30pm

Talk: Beyond the High Line: Transforming Chicago


The Bloomingdale Trail is a three mile-long elevated railway in the heart of Chicago. In a historical trajectory similar to the High Line’s, the railways were elevated to take trains off of busy city streets, but these railways fell out of use in the late 20th century. Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail formed to advocate for the railway’s transformation into a vibrant public space.

We are pleased to welcome Beth White from The Trust for Public Land and Ben Helphand from Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail for an introduction to the project. Beth and Ben will walk you through the history of the railway, current design concepts, the complexities of a public-private partnership, and the balance required to create a public space that will be a mixture of park and trail, and both a neighborhood park and a citywide destination.

Stick around after the talk for a reception featuring Chicago-style hot dogs for sale from Bark and free music by the Bryan Carter Trio, one of Chicago's best bands from the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Join us on July 23 for the next talk in our “Beyond the High Line” series: Transforming Detroit.

14th Street Passage
On the High Line, at West 14th Street

This High Line Program is free and open to visitors of all ages. No RSVP required.

About Beth White
Beth is the Director of the Chicago Region Office of The Trust for Public Land. Her previous positions include serving as the Managing Director of Communications and Policy for the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chief of Staff for the Chicago Transit Authority's Chicago Transit Board, and the Assistant Commissioner for the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development. In addition, Beth was the founding executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. She was appointed to the National Capital Planning Commission by President Obama, serves on the board of NeighborSpace, and is the former Chair of the Lakewood Balmoral National Historic District Committee. Beth received a B.Phil. from Northwestern University and M.A. in Urban Studies from Loyola University.

About Ben Helphand
Ben is the Executive Director of NeighborSpace, a nonprofit urban land trust dedicated to preserving and sustaining community managed open spaces in Chicago. He is also the board president of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, a community group that advocates for the conversion of an elevated rail viaduct on Chicago's northwest side into a multi-use linear park; board president of GreenNet, Chicago's community greening coalition; a board member of the Active Transportation Alliance, an co-creator of the Election Day Advent Calendar. Previously Ben worked as the Pedestrian Program Manager and Director of the Civic Footprint at the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Ben received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

This High Line Talk is made possible by the New York Community Trust—LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund and, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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