The Future of Navy Pier
In 2016, to ensure a more sustainable future, the Pier began an aspirational
long-term effort. Reflecting the latest thinking about sustainable design and
operations, Navy Pier began to implement elements of a comprehensive plan for a
To celebrate its centennial in 2016, Navy Pier unveiled a new Ferris wheel (called the Centennial
Wheel) and a contemporary “Pierscape” designed by landscape architects and urban designers James
Corner Field Operations, the firm which also designed New York’s High Line, a New York park featured
in Geoffrey Baer’s 10 Parks that Changed America. The High Line, similarly, was conceived
to create a secret, magic garden for visitors to discover in the midst of the city.
An allée of trees welcomes visitors to Navy Pier.
Permeable concrete aids in storm water absorption and retention. Stored water
is used for landscape irrigation.
A Greener Pier
To reduce the Pier’s environmental footprint, the plan dictates sustainable approaches to energy use,
water, and waste, and seeks to protect the water habitats around this urban landscape.
Some of the green measures are easy to spot, such as the native plantings. Others are not so
recognizable if you’re not looking for them: permeable concrete walks to absorb, filter, and reuse
storm water, or benches constructed from reclaimed wood and recycled steel.
Over the next three decades, the Pier will work with a variety of partners and resources to realize
this sustainable vision.
Seating on Navy Pier is constructed from reclaimed wood and recycled steel.
Native plantings are part of the Pier’s sustainable design strategy.
The Pier has been evolving for over a century. It has been a Naval training base, a
university, a place for pleasure and cargo, and more. We bet you have some good ideas for
what might happen in the next 100 years.