Sustainable Urban Greening — Macro to Micro

About the Symposium

Symposium Schedule

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PHOTO: Aerial rendering of Northerly Island planned space by Studio Gang Architects

Sustainable Urban Greening — Macro to Micro

Presented by Bartlett Tree Experts and the Chicago Botanic Garden

Wednesday, September 18, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden Alsdorf Auditorium
Registration fee: $25 nonmembers, members receive a 20% discount

Phone registrations call (847) 835-8261.

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11 a.m.

An Insider's Look at Spider Island

Spider Island is a quarter-acre jewel that is the result of a collaboration between the Chicago Botanic Garden and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. It is an award-winning landscape of naturally-inspired forms that highlight native plants, especially those adapted to wet soil conditions. Tour the island with members of the design team, and enjoy a simple and enfolding journey that encompasses movement, phenomena and experience.

Click here to register for the tour. (Advance registration required.)
Participation is limited; register early.


Registration opens; lunch (on your own)

1 p.m.

PHOTO: Claire Cahan  PHOTO: Debra Mitchell

Claire Cahan, LEED AP, design team member, Studio Gang Architects, Chicago, Illinois

Debra Mitchell, FASLA, LEED AP, senior vice president, SmithGroupJJR, Chicago, Illinois

With its storied history and prominent lakefront location, Northerly Island is a place for which people throughout the Chicago region feel a strong attachment. As a manmade island, it has provided a virtually blank canvas for its current transformation into a world-class park. An extensive public process has guided the design team, which has stitched together multiple ecosystems, and highly active and passive uses. Peer inside the process with two of the award-winning project's designers.

2:15 p.m.

Stretch break

2:30 p.m.

Laura Solano, principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Contemporary landscapes are often cultivated in disrupted places that seem absent of any natural history. One of the most monumental tasks in these redevelopments is creating the circumstances by which natural systems can once again function, perform and thrive. The treatment of the dynamic elements of soil, plants and water will be examined through a series of case studies that show how scale, diversity, complexity and technological creativity foster enduring landscapes that are ecologically fit and experientially rich.

3:15 p.m.

Connor Shaw, owner and founder, Possibility Place Nursery, Monee, Illinois

For urban landscapes to mature and thrive, decisions made at the grower and plant-selection levels can make all the difference. Which native tree species promote sustainability? What role does diversity play? What's happening underground that is critical to tree survival? When is the best time to plant? Tree characteristics, such as size, fall color and flower, will also be covered.

4 p.m.