Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s never too late to prepare for the future!”* And with that in mind, we asked a group of people working in Chicagoland architecture firms, development companies, and related fields to Swiffer off their crystal balls and tell us what they see for 2019.
Today we tap Steve Blye, senior architect at the West Loop’s Legat Architects for his notions of the year ahead:
Thinking about Chicago’s progress in the coming years, I see both opportunities and obstacles. On the one hand, the city will continue to attract businesses from as close as surrounding suburbs and as far as around the world. The reasons for this: Chicago’s world-renowned skyline, central US location, friendly people, expanding reputation as a tech and innovation center, and undeveloped and underdeveloped property west and south of its central core. Moreover, the young workforce will continue to be attracted to Chicago’s hottest areas, such as the West Loop, which has the highest concentration of millennials in the country.
Then there are the challenges that Chicago must overcome: high taxation, a higher cost of living than many attractive smaller cities, and a national reputation for violence.
Chicago’s incredible potential for growth, skyward development, and innovative leadership will continue to be tempered by its political corruption, heavy taxation, pension crises, and stifling regulations. We will watch other metropolises grow faster, smarter, leaner, and brighter until reform is able to outpace decline.
You may remember Legat Architects from such projects as the Arlington Heights Police Station, and at least four Metra stations: Stone Avenue in LaGrange, 80th Avenue and Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park, and Railroad Avenue in Bartlett.
I remember Legat as the people who taught me that designing for accessibility is more complicated than simply completing an ADA punch list, and a lot harder than it looks. Now I try to use their empathetic client vision in the things I design.
*Abraham Lincoln said no such thing, but this is the internet, so nobody will bother to check.