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MIT to honor Daley for greening city

Richard M. Daley
Richard M. Daley

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, nationally known for programs to raise literacy and lower crime, has been awarded MIT's 2005 Kevin Lynch Award for his innovative, even dramatic measures for greening the Windy City.

Daley will receive the Lynch Award on Thursday, April 7, at a reception and ceremony beginning at 5:30 p.m. in MIT's Stata Center Room 123. A symposium on "Greening the 21st Century City" will follow the presentation at 7 p.m. All the Lynch Award events are free and open to the public.

Adèle Naudé Santos, dean of the School of Architecture, praised Daley's "strong environmental leadership" in her letter notifying him he had won the prestigious award, which honors "outstanding contributions" to the relationship between an urban place and the people who use it.

Through his efforts, a "sustainable landscaping industry has grown around the city's green initiatives, demonstrating to other cities not only the social benefits of such a strategy, but also the economic advantages," Santos said.

Lawrence Vale, head of the department of urban studies and planning and a Chicago native, noted the impact of Daley's green initiatives.

"As a child growing up in Chicago, the only green thing I remember was the glowing dye in the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day. Now, through both parks improvements and green energy-saving technologies, Chicago has exerted national leadership in this area. Our hope is that the Kevin Lynch Award will serve to further the spotlight on this sort of mayoral entrepreneurship," said Vale.

Since Daley became mayor, the city has planted more than 400,000 trees, created 100 school campus parks, built 68 miles of landscaped street medians and spurred the construction of rooftop gardens on major buildings, including Chicago City Hall, the flagship of Daley's Green Roofs program.

Daley's other achievements in urban design and building include Millennium Park, with its green roof adorned by a Frank Gehry bandshell, the LEED-Platinum Chicago Center for Green Technology, Greencorps Chicago and Northerly Island Park.

Chicago's example and vision, among others, will be the focus of the Lynch panel, "Greening the 21st Century." Dennis Frenchman, chair of the Joint program in City design and Development, will moderate the discussion among panelists Hillary Brown, founder of New York City's Office of Sustainable Development; Robert Campbell, Pulitzer Prize-winning design critic for the Boston Globe and Doug Foy, the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth Development and former President of the Conservation Law Foundation.

Daley, who is currently completing his fifth consecutive term as mayor, will discuss the rewards and challenges of careers in public service with MIT students on April 8th (PDF file).

The Kevin Lynch Award carries an honorarium and is administered by MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the joint program in City Design and Development. Lynch (B.C.P. 1947) died in 1984. A native of Chicago, he was an urban designer and the author of seminal works in the field of urban planning, particularly the pioneering "The Image of the City," published in 1960. His other books include "Site Planning, "Good City Form," and "What Time Is This Place?"

Lynch served as a member of the faculty of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning for 30 years. He helped to develop the Department of Urban Studies and Planning into one of the most renowned in the world. In 1988, family, friends and colleagues established the award in his memory and funds to support acquisitions for MIT's Rotch Library of Architecture and Planning.

For more information, please contact Paula Anzer, lecturer and special assistant to the DUSP department head, at 617-253-2024. To make a reservation for the event, e-mail

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 30, 2005 (download PDF).

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