Ass(et) Creek

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program: Post-Industrial Urban Park
Status: Unbuilt

Care for a dip in the Chicago River? Not Likely. For nearly a century, the river has been too polluted for casual contact – let alone swimming. but that is changing. The day will come when a plunge in the river could be a summer ritual like that of any small-town swimming hole.

Built in the 1990’s as an extension of Chicago’s industrial waterways, the 12th Ward’s Collateral Channel has been abandoned for years and is severely polluted from the industry it once served. In its current state, the channel gives off such an unpleasant smell in Little Village that neighborhood kids have nicknamed it “Ass Creek”.

We want to convert the Collateral Channel from ass to asset. Our proposed wetland park filters water from the Chicago River through a series of native plantings to purify it. Ass(et) Creek adapts the channel from a barren, smelly wasteland to a valued community resource. Near 31st Street, the unimaginable: a swimming hole filled with clean river water.