DePaul University College of LAS > Centers & Institutes > Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development > Programs > Beyond Burnham

Beyond Burnham Oral History Series

Following the centennial celebrations of the famed Plan of Chicago, the Chaddick Institute began hosting roundtable discussions that feature planners, real-estate developers, and civic leaders who have helped bring international prominence to our city. These Beyond Burnham events, typically involving a panel of five or six individuals, are videotaped for posterity and allow for extensive discussion with the audience. We have been fortunate to work with Larry Lund, Norman Elkin, and Andy Plummer, who have a rich knowledge of Chicago planning history, on enhancing this popular oral history series.

To view the entire suite of interviews. Follow a link at the top of our Facebook page timeline or open DePaul University's UTunes​ via iTunes​. 

Questions about our Beyond Burnham: Oral History Series events or video archive? Contact Marisa Schulz, the Chaddick Institute Assistant Director, at 312.362-5731 or

Previous Beyond Burnham: Oral History Series events include: 
Re-Envisioning Navy Pier
From  Prudential to Illinois Center: The Birth of the New East Side
Plans, Projects, and Priorities: The Planning Legacy of the Two Mayor Daleys
Beyond Burnham" Roundtable Discussion: Urban Renewal in Chicago
50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Expressway: Reception and Roundtable Discussion
They Built Dearborn Park: Reception and Roundtable Discussion
Celebrating the Congress-Northwest Expressway

Looking Back at the Burnham Centennial Celebration

In 1909, the Commercial Club of Chicago released Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's the Plan of Chicago, a seminal document in Chicago history. The Plan, embraced by the civic sector, helped guide the development of modern Chicago. A hundred years later, over 250 organizations have come together to celebrate the legacy of the Plan and encourage people to reimagine both the future of the city and the region as a whole. 

The university's centennial celebrations were coordinated by a faculty-led process facilitated and supported by staff of the Chaddick Institute. DePaul University is one of the foremost contributors to the city-wide effort to celebrate the anniversary of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's famous plan. Indeed, the civic movement launched in 2004 that began preparations for the centenary grew out of an effort housed at DePaul. We worked closely with Chicago Metropolis 2020, which is providing executive leadership on the project. For more information on previous city-wide Burnham Centennial activities and programs, please visit the Burnham Plan 100 website.

Since the spring of 2008, DePaul University has coordinated and facilitated Burnham related programs, including seminars and roundtable discussions for both faculty and students. Two dozen professors involved in the celebrations have taught more than 1,000 undergraduate students and graduate students during the 2008-09 academic year fusing site visits, tours, and presentations by experts on the 1909 Plan of Chicago. In addition, whether you are part of the faculty, staff or student body, or are a graduate or friend of the university, we hope that you will get involved in our programs.

During the 2009 calendar year, DePaul University held centennial celebrations to commemorate the famed 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett. The Chaddick Institute arranged for these events and would like to thank everyone who contributed to a successful program year. We hope you'll join us at upcoming events at our Institute intended to further commemorate the many planning milestones the Chicago region has crossed.

Much of the research we conducted in the years leading up to the celebrations are featured in Beyond Burnham: An Illustrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region, a book published in late 2009 by Lake Forest College Press and being distributed by Northwestern University Press. Details about this book and others can be found below in the Beyond Burnham: Scholarship section of this page.

Burnham at DePaul

The Burnham Plan Centennial has been a springboard for a great deal of scholarship at DePaul University. Several books are also the product of DePaul research. We summarize them below:

The Plan of Chicago @ 100: 15 years of Burnham's Legacy for a New Century
Drawing on its international membership, the Ely Chapter of Lambda Alpha International (LAI) has published a book of 15 essays on the Plan of Chicago, including an article by DePaul University urban planner Joseph Kearney and professor Joe Schwieterman. The book includes photos taken by students from schools throughout the Chicago region who participated in The Fairchild Challenge photo and essay contest, an environmental competition sponsored annually by the Chicago Botanic Garden. LAI, in cooperation with The Fairchild Challenge, the Burnham Plan Centennial, and Chicago Metro 2020 sponsored The Burnham Experience. Cost: $19.95; Order forms available at

Burnham and Beyond: An Illustrated History of Planning in the Chicago region

This book, released in August 2009, is sponsored by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. Authors Joe Schwieterman, a DePaul professor, and Alan Mammoser, chronicle the efforts to plan for the Chicago region since 1909. The book, a collaborative effort between DePaul, Lake Forest College Press (publisher of the book), Northwestern University Press (distributor), and the University of Illinois Chicago (which provided editorial assistance, courtesy of John A. Shuler). Readers will find more 160 photos!

"Burnham's Suburban Legacy: The 1917 Plan of Evanston, Illinois Presented at the International Planning History Society, 13th Biennial Conference, Chicago, July 12, 2008.

Professor Hugh Bartling studied the legacy of another Burnham Plan, the 1917 Plan of Evanston, a document written by a team of architects and planners that included Daniel Hudson Burnham's son, Daniel Burnham, Jr. Professor Bartling has done extensive archival research to explore the context in which this plan was written and has chronicled the city's struggle to implement it in the midst of World War I.