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Urban and Ecological Planning in Chicago: Science, Policy and Dissent

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Home to some of the tallest buildings in the world, the urban landscape of Chicago announces itself long before visitors can reach it. This first impression is presently being contradicted by the implementation of an 80 937 ha ecological restoration in the city's greater metropolitan area. Using these projects as a case-study, the objective of this analysis is to understand the integration of environmental conservation efforts into urban life, exploring the viability of a model for combining urban renewal and environmental restoration. Controversies surrounding the Cook County Forest Preserve project familiarize us with some of the difficulties encountered in the science, policy and politics of urban ecological restoration projects. Though the city's urban and environmental history provides clues to precedents and structural opportunities for restorationists, it has not eliminated the doubts of those favouring conservation. However, the case shows that, while controversy may be a burden, it need not end initiatives for urban and environmental planning. Moreover, these controversies can be opportunities for an institutional learning and policy adaption process.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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