ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this social and ecological account of the Chicago River, Libby Hill tells the story of how a sluggish waterway emptying into Lake Michigan became central to the creation of Chicago as a major metropolis and transportation hub.
This widely acclaimed volume weaves the perspectives of science, engineering, commerce, politics, economics, and the natural world into a chronicle of the river from its earliest geologic history through its repeated adaptations to the city that grew up around it. While explaining the river’s role in massive public works, such as drainage and straightening, designed to address the infrastructure needs of a growing population, Hill focuses on the synergy between the river and the people of greater Chicago, whether they be the tribal cultures that occupied the land after glacial retreat, the first European inhabitants, or more recent residents.
In the first edition, Hill brought together years of original research and the contributions of dozens of experts to tell the Chicago River’s story up until 2000. This revised edition features discussions of disinfection, Asian carp, green strategies, the evolution of the Chicago Riverwalk, and the river’s rejuvenation. It also explores how earlier solutions to problems challenge today’s engineers, architects, environmentalists, and public policy agencies as they address contemporary issues.
Revealing the river to be a microcosm of the uneasy relationship between nature and civilization, The Chicago River offers the tools and knowledge for the city’s residents to be champions on the river’s behalf.