In an act of cultural and environmental violence that has shocked the South Side, the City of Chicago and the Chicago 2016 Bid Committee have destroyed the beloved central park lands at Michael Reese Hospital.
Sparing only a few trees, the community parks have been “clear cut.” Hundreds of trees have been killed, and all shrubbery, flowers, and ground cover has been scraped from the site. The new scorched earth setting, carefully masked from the surefire embarrassment of public scrutiny behind a thin veil of preserved vegetation and construction fencing, is a shock to all who have known and loved the campus in its original state.
The landscapes at Michael Reese were designed by Hideo Sasaki (of Sasaki + Novak, later Sasaki Walker), and Lester Collins, two of America’s premiere landscape architects. The landscape designers both worked closely with Walter Gropius and his associates at The Architects Collaborative to develop the landscapes in keeping with Gropius’s architecture and site planning theories. Prominent Art and architecture Critic Lynn Becker has called these settings “some of the most beautiful landscapes in the city.”
This is just the start. When the games come to town, the bulldozers come out to play. The games will destroy priceless park land at Washington Park, Lincoln Park, and Douglas Park, as well as knock out 1,600 boat slips from our harbor system. What are you going to do about it?