Nature Near Transit

Equitable and Resilient Placekeeping with Nature-Based Solutions and Public Art

Nature Near Transit (NNT) is a creative placekeeping program working with Chicago-area neighborhoods near high-frequency CTA transit stops to create spaces that demonstrate climate, economic, and cultural resilience. CNT works with its core partners, Elevated Chicago that provides both programmatic and financial support for NNT, and WeBuildAgency, to engage with community-based organizations and the local residents and businesses it serves.

Demonstrating how green infrastructure helps manage stormwater and brings other benefits to communities is a significant focus of NNT. The program also advances the goals of Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) and collaborates with communities through the lenses of racial equity, health, climate change, and arts and culture. Geographically, NNT works in target areas for investment to address inequities in the built environment. All project locations are in disinvested areas within one-half-of-a mile of high-frequency bus and rail transit stops known as eHubs.  

Chicago’s transit system is an incredibly important community asset, but not all transit stops, nor the areas surrounding them, enjoy the same level of investment and attention they deserve. Through this program, CNT works with local community partners to install complementary, site-scale green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and public art near transit stations to support these areas in becoming destinations for local economic and community development. Projects are collaborative, striving for local input and involvement from design and fabrication to planting and installation. NNT leans into participatory approaches that help enroot community ownership and meaningful connection to the installations.

The green infrastructure, or nature-based solutions, included in projects provide some stormwater management benefit but serve primarily as educational tools to demonstrate what needs to be replicated on larger, distributed scales to reduce community flooding impacts. Public art integrates local cultural priorities, thematic representations, shade structures, and other ideas that speak to the critical needs and myriad benefits of continued investment in sustainable water infrastructure.

Local project partners currently include: The Endeleo InstitutePalenque LSNANorth River CommissionChicago FarmWorks, and Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative

To learn more, please contact Ryan Scherzinger