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Kayley Olson
Midterm Examination
PPS 333
Professor Bartling
May 3rd, 2016
Word Count: 2100
The Green City of the 21st Century
In todays age we have reached a point of a need for sustainable
living. From the past century due to our use of green house gas
emissions (GHG emissions) we have thoroughly damaged the
environment we live in to the point where we need to change our way
of living. One of the biggest issues we have faced with sustainability is
how we make cities that are high in population density and GHG
emissions a more sustainable way of living, which introduced the idea
of a Green City. In this paper a small portion of the Lincoln Park area in
Chicago will be analyzed to first understand why there is a need for
urban sustainability in this area, then to understand the potential of
sustainability this land holds, and then possible ways in which the area
could be enhanced to incorporate a more urban sustainable lifestyle.
The Beginning of the End
The Lincoln Park area, while not necessarily in the Chicago
downtown area is a key neighborhood in housing the high population of
people that live within the greater Chicago-land area. Being home to
one of the larger cities in America, there is a call for urban
sustainability in this area. While most people may think that the term
urban sustainability is an oxymoron, it is quite pivotal in this day and

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age to have especially after all the sprawl that has occurred over the
years. As Freilich et al. describes it, as the nations western frontier
came to a close in the late nineteenth century, urban areas began to
exhibit a new frontier with the exodus from the cities to suburban
living. (pg 22). From this change where our nation started to leave the
city and develop in suburbia, we changed more than just our
geographical location, we completely changed out development,
lifestyle, and consumption patters as Beatley discusses.
Those who were able to leave and go to the suburbs were the
ones with financial means to do so as Freilich et al. points out. With this
money leaving the city and going to the suburban area, so did all of
the high demand for infrastructure to go to and from the suburbs, jobs,
retail, and the high demand for development. At the rate of urban
sprawl and how it is going, Freilich et al. says that sprawl has hurt our
developing world by weakening existing built up areas, environmental
degradation, global warming, fiscal insolvency, agriculture land
conversions, and a loss of quality of life and sense of place. At the rate
that we are going at Beatley discusses that we ultimately have two
choices, to either continue going at our status quo, or completely
change the way we are living by using land sparingly, and becoming a
greener and more vibrant ecological space in order to carry the
capacity of our ever growing population rate.

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Beatley greatly emphasizes the idea that, The urgency of
current environmental trends clearly necessitates a new approach to
living on the planet- one that sustains our basic biological and
ecosystem functions while offering opportunities for a meaningful
quality of life to all. (pg 5). Our change must happen where there is
the opportunity to do so, and in this given day and age, we might as
well start in the city. Barton even argues for change that is efficient
and available to cities to create a more sustainable way of living
through ideas like the compact city, mixed use development and linear
concentration. Our patterns of land usage are growing more than the
population is even growing as Beatley discusses. The smartest way to
become more sustainable is to not continually degrade land that hasnt
been used, but go to the places where land is already being used in a
large part and turn it into a sustainable way of living.
Overall the answer does not lie in by developing on Greenfields.
We need to target and create a more sustainable way of living where
we already have high concentrations of living so people are not enticed
to more out to the suburbs and contribute to the idea of urban sprawl.
This is why its important that this part of the Lincoln Park Area is
sustainable, because every part of the city is called to action to be
apart of this idea of being greener because if not we cannot make this
lifestyle change of conserving our ecological world to benefit future

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Sustainability in Our Own Neighborhood
For the purpose of this study, there was only a section of about 5
kilometers measured out to analyze the sustainability of the tiny
section in the Lincoln Park area. The area inside of the circle below is
what was analyzed:

Figure 1: Map of Lincoln Park Area Used

In this area there is a plethora of different types of housing, there is
everything from apartment homes, to town homes, to duplexes, to
single family, to even dormitories that are included from the local
University. The idea of multiple housing in a given area is very key to
have because this means that there is more than just single families
living in a given area; more people are taking up each plot of land and

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are utilizing it to its full potential. If you think of the suburbs, they
mainly have giant single family homes, this area is quite the opposite
of that.

Figure 2: Image of housing in Lincoln Park Area

As can be seen in the image above there is a single family home as
well as apartments that hold multiple people on the same block. This
promotes more people to one plot of land rather than just one big
family taking over one part of the land.
Another important aspect that should be discussed is the fact
that there are many modes of transportation in this area. Some people
have cars in this area which equates for the parking on the sides of the
street. However, many people seem to also walk almost everywhere. In
order to ensure the safety of pedestrians, the sidewalks are spaced
very far away from the street and even have higher curb, as well as
cars parker on the side to make pedestrians feel comfortable walking
in this area. This area also promotes a bike sharing program, Divvy,
that has many park stations in the area so that wherever you are, you

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can always have a bike or park the bike in another close location if
another one is already full.

Figure 3: Image on Divvy Station, parking on side, and raised curbs for
Continuing on the idea of transportation there are many points
for people living in this area to use public transportation. Within this
5km radius being used for the purpose of this study, there are two L
stops for Chicagos Public Transportation. This is an important factor to
have in a city because it will reduce the amount of carbon emissions
per capita since multiple people will be taking public transportation.
Not only that, but there are multiple bus runs that run through this 5
km, allowing for people to reduce their carbon emissions.
The way the land is developed in this area is truly incredible.
Within this 5 km radius of the Lincoln Park area, there are at least 15
different restaurants for people to go to, a Whole Foods, 4 Divvy
locations, DePauls Quad area, a University, an elementary school,

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multiple retail spaces, many places of worship, 2 L stops, and at least
6 bus runs that run though the area. And for the majority this area is
on a grid system for its streets so there are multiple ways for cars to
get through to different areas so there isnt much traffic congestion,
and makes it safer for people to bike and walk since their safety is less
of an issue in a less congested area.

Figure 4: Image of multiple areas of retail for people in the area by just
Overall, this area has multiple ways in which it is acting as part
of a sustainable city. Everything that someone would need if they lived
here would be easily accessible by many modes of transportation, but
also by simply walking so that they can completely reduce their carbon
emissions that they have. This area of the Chicago-land area
encapsulates what it means to be sustainable. It allows for a high
population density to live in its small area without having to emit a
high amount of carbon emissions to get to places that are necessary in

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everyday life. From the way the land is being developed, to the modes
of transportation, Lincoln Park is contributing to becoming a Green City
for Chicago.
Enhancement of the Lincoln Park Area
Even though the Lincoln Park Area is already very green the
biggest enhancement that can happen within this neighborhood is to
reduce the biggest carbon emitter. And in this area its still the high
use of personal cars for transportation. Condon greatly expresses the
need to not use cars and to use our legs when he says, A landscape
where walking is impossible is a landscape where our legs are only
used to get from the couch to the refrigerator and from the front door
to the driveway The body is designed from primarily walking. If
walking is systematically denied by ones environment, this cannot be
a good thing. (pg 10). We are not saying that this environment is not
already walking friendly, but it should get to the point where owning a
car gives no benefit because there are alternate resources to use that
are just as effective as a car.
Condon continues to say that for the most part in our world we
are auto dominated, and this needs to be changed to reduce our
carbon emissions are truly be more sustainable. One highly effective
suggestion that Condon suggests is to create a more interconnected
system using our already existing Gridion Pattern that Lincoln Park is
designed on. Condon says, The major advantages of the

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interconnected system are that it makes all trips as short as possible,
allows pedestrians and bikes to flow through the system without
inconvenience, and relieves congestion by providing many alternate
routes to a destination. And as we can see this is already in play for
this area but the possibility of using a streetcar could eliminate the use
of cars in an area so that there is no need for the car because there are
so many alternative options.
Cevero and Sullivan introduce the idea of Transit Oriented
Development and making it greener for people to exist in. Through
other ways such as ride sharing programs could promote the idea of
not owning a personal car. Cevero and Sullican say, More choices and
variety in an urban landscape is a good thing, especially given the
increasingly diverse and plural make-up of HHs in the United States
and other industrial nations. (pg 9). As we see there is a call to keep
increasing the variety of transportation to make a greener city
possible, whether thats through an increase in street cars or ride
sharing programs, these are all a necessity to slowly diminish the
dependence on a car and lower the carbon emissions per capita.
Seskin even offers a list of sustainable transport options that will
promote a greener way of living in an urban setting. The list is as
followed, walking trips, transit trips, transit reliability, presence of
walking facilities, presence of biking facilities, and bike trips. It is
expressed that these should be the higher levels of usage, while other

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ones such as freight movement and auto trips should be lower to
promote a more sustainable way of living.
Overall, while the Lincoln Park area is already very sustainable in
its own way of offering multiple ways of transportation, multiple
housing available, multiple retail spaces, there still needs to be an
improvement of transportation to lower the dependence on cars.
Whether it be an increase through being more interconnected using
ride sharing programs or streetcars it must be done. These are the
ways in which we will we see a more sustainable way of living in an
urban setting in the city of Chicago.

There are many possibilities for the city of Chicago to create a
more sustainable neighborhood that contributes to their Green City.
The most effective way to keep a more sustainable area is by creating
better transportation. Speaking purely from a policy standpoint, the
best way in which a city can attain this is by either creating an
environmental policy where only a certain amount of cars can be
owned in a certain amount of cars in a given area. Or possibly by
putting a carbon tax on those who have a car so that way people will
take transportation in stead of getting a car and having to pay the
carbon tax. These few policy suggestions can help make cars less of an

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everyday thing and promote the usage of public transportation instead
for a greener world.

Works Cited
Barton, Hugh. Urban Form and Locality in Sustainable Communities (London:
Earthscan, 2000)
Beatley, Timothy. Ch. 1, The New Planning Agenda from The Ecology of Place
(Island Press)
Cervero, R. & Sullivan, C. 2011 Green TODs: marrying transit- oriented
development and green urbanism, International Journal of Sustainable
Development & World Ecology, 18:3, 210-218.

Chapter 1 & 2 of Condon, Patrick. 2010. Seven Rules for Sustainable

Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World.
(Washington, D.C.: Island Press). ISBN: 978-1597266659

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Chapter 3 of Condon, Patrick. 2010. Seven Rules for Sustainable
Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World. (Washington,
D.C.: Island Press). ISBN: 978-1597266659.
Chapter 4 of Condon, Patrick. 2010. Seven Rules for Sustainable
Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World. (Washington,
D.C.: Island Press). ISBN: 978-1597266659.
Robert Freilich, Robert Sitkoski, and Seth Mennillo, Ch. 2, The Need for
Sustainable Growth Policies, From Sprawl to Sustainability: Smart Growth,
New Urbanism, Green Development and Renewable Energy.
Seskin, Kite and Searfoss, Evaluating Complete Streets Projects
Google Maps