Chicago from the Sky: A Region Transformed

Friends of the Parks is pleased to announce its new lecture series, the Walter Netsch Lecture Series to honor renowned architect Walter Netsch’s vision and leadership that changed the culture of the Chicago Park District.  The new lecture series will offer free quarterly lectures on topics of parks, the environment, urban planning and public policy.  Speakers will include policy experts, authors and government officials.  The 2012 quarterly noon lecture series will be held in the Claudia Cassidy Auditorium of the Chicago Cultural Center.


Thursday, December 13, 2012, 12:15Chicago from the Sky:  A Region Transformed

Renowned aerial photographer, planner and author, Lawrence Okrent will offer a visual presentation of Chicago’s parks and lakefront transformed in the last decades.  Aerial photos show before and after visuals that will give the audience a look at the transformation of some of Chicago’s parks and neighborhoods.


Walter Netsch served as the President of the Chicago Park District from 1986 through 1989.   He was appointed to the Board by Mayor Harold Washington and given the task to reform the Chicago Park District from a political patronage system to a professionally managed agency. Netsch took on the task.  He developed a city-wide plan to decentralize the Park District which was implemented in short order.  He created a professional Department of Research and Planning and hired creative and accomplished architects and planners which led to better designed fieldhouses and landscapes.  Under his tenure, all 500 children’s playgrounds were reconstructed in five years, 100 playgrounds a year were rebuilt, and each involved the planning and volunteer work of the community.

As a world renowned architect, Netsch led the team which designed the original University of Illinois Circle Campus. During his career, Netsch designed 15 libraries, as well as academic buildings for colleges and universities in the United States and Japan, including the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago. He may be most well known as the lead designer for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and its famous Cadet Chapel. The Cadet Chapel at the Academy was named a National Historic Landmark in 2004.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>