Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Legacy Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Dyckman, Caitlin S.

Committee Member

Sperry , Stephen

Committee Member

Baldwin , Robert

Abstract

The planning field is increasingly involved in balancing biodiversity with the expansion of urban areas to meet changing societal demands. Regions, states and cities have begun trying to mitigate the negative effects of sprawl by creating green infrastructure plans to conserve open space. However, little is known about planners' roles in facilitating and/or implementing these visions in cities with a population of over one million people in the core and hinterlands. The goal of this project was to study the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision to determine if planners played a role in its formulation and/or implementation, and if so, to what extent. Also of interest was whether they contributed to making the plan viable from a biodiversity standpoint. The overarching goal of this research was to create a research framework that would uncover how planners both aid and fail in creating and perpetuating viable green infrastructure visions, with applicability to other large cities. Although no correlations were discovered, data suggests that planners do have a role in the Vision's formulation and implementation and that role most commonly occurs through drafting of area comprehensive plans that promote private conservation approaches and open space land designation. Furthermore, it was found that the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision was designed to promote the continuation of biodiversity, rather than recreation purposes by constructing a gap analysis to evaluate lands identified as potential green infrastructure hubs and corridors.

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