City Gardens

City Gardens contributes to a growing neighborhood resurgence on Chicago’s Near West Side as investments in retail, public works, and housing are now filling many of the community’s vacant lots.  Part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan Forward program, City Gardens, replaces CHA’s former Maplewood Courts at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard, Van Buren Street and Maplewood Avenue.  The new mixed-income development features 76 apartments in seven three-story buildings around a large internal courtyard. This central core anchors the development and offers shared space with environmentally-focused amenities, such as garden beds, grill stations, and ample play and seating areas.

An adjacent, defunct elevated rail line and its resulting embankment along the western lot line presented initial challenges in planning. The organizational design approach included orientating buildings along the three streets to connect them to the neighboring site and restricting vehicular traffic in favor of a public spaces and amenities. To accommodate the density desired to create a viable, dynamic community, a new private fire lane was added through the site that also doubles as a public plaza.

Our approach to sustainable design is to provide “best practices” which include green initiatives, sustainable development programs, alternative material development, sustainable landscape design, and coordination of construction ways and means as a cost containment measure. In keeping with the “green” theme, City Gardens is designed with several environmentally friendly features, such as bioswales between buildings to remove pollution from runoff water and permeable pavers for rainwater management. With thermally-advanced building shells and Energy Star Rated buildings, the project exceeds the City of Chicago’s Green Housing Initiative requirement.

Near West Side, Chicago, IL


Completed 2017

Unit Count



Brinshore Development L.L.C.

The Michaels Development Company


Linn-Mathes, Inc.


RTM & Associates (MEP)

Virgilio & Associates Ltd. (Structural)

Prism Engineering (Civil)

McKay Landscape Architects


Mark Ballogg

“CHA is proud to be part of this innovative, environmentally-conscious mixed-income development. I am excited that the agency will provide key housing opportunities for low-income residents as CHA continues to build strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago.”