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What were Chicago’s most important developments over the last decade?

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Which new skyscrapers, parks, and transit stops had the biggest impact in the last 10 years?

Groups of children and adults gather in the sunken bowl of a playground with slides and rope bridges. A row of tall buildings stand behind the playground.
Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park broke ground in 2012 and transformed the roof of an underground parking garage into a whimsical playground.

Chicago’s built environment has changed a lot over the past ten years. The post-recession building boom saw downtown explode, and a number of outlying neighborhoods developed in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade prior. But which projects were the most important and impactful?

There were tall skyline-changing towers from high-profile architects like One Bennett Park, NEMA Chicago, and the still yet-to-open Vista Tower. Then, there were redevelopments of historic structures such as the Old Chicago Post Office (the largest single adaptive reuse project in the country) and old Loop office buildings begin new life as boutique hotels like LondonHouse.

Many neighborhoods have seen incredible transformation as well. Chicago’s Fulton Market went from meatpackers and wholesalers to luxury hotels, tech offices, and high-end restaurants. The catalyst project? Perhaps, it was the redevelopment of 1K Fulton that lured Google to the area or the 2012 Morgan Green Line station that enabled the surrounding boom to occur?

Luxury housing made its way out of downtown and into the neighborhoods with projects like Lincoln Park’s Lincoln Common, Hyde Park’s Solstice on the Park, Logan Square’s MiCa towers, and multi-phase Old Town Park.

And let’s not forget the new or reimagined green spaces added over the past ten years: the Chicago Riverwalk, The 606, Maggie Daley Park, and Northerly Island. Plus, there was Navy Pier’s makeover from a 1990s nightmare into a prettier tourist trap.

Which additions to Chicago’s built environment made the biggest impact in the last 10 years? Did the developments deliver on their promises? Did other projects exceed expectations? Drop your thoughts in the comments below or send us an email at