Another great example of Daley clout vs. popular opinion.

The story more or less is that the mayor and the Park District want to relocate the children's museum to a 'more prominent' location in Grant Park from its current location on Navy Pier. Of course this betrays the park's intention (on both aesthetic and legal precedents) to be free and open from buildings forever and ever, as the Field Museum learned at the turn of the century when their efforts to build in the park were halted by Montgomery Ward and others.

For me personally it's a strange coming together of both Boss, which I've been reading bit by bit this semester and my City in Japanese History seminar. Chicago politics mixed in with all the space issues we've been discussing in the context of Tokyo and Kyoto. 
While my class usually comes to the conclusion that grand urban projects dictated from above tend to fail, I think one reason Chicago remained successful was the careful use of its lakefront and park system dictated under Burnham's Chicago Plan. Building this museum, even underground, sets a dangerous precedent for the park. The encroachment of paid admission institutions in what should be the most public place in the city should be discouraged, no matter how much bullying the mayor and his allies give city council.

AuthorChris Hamby