A celebration of the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture.



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...Frederick Law Olmsted's work has passed the test of time; his work in Druid Hills set the stage and continues to influence metro Atlanta...
-Tina Fountain

Riverside, Illinois

Riverside Illinois has long been considered the best example of Olmsted's idea of how suburbs should look. Riverside is a 1600 acre community along the Des Plaines River west of Chicago.

The planning of the community took Olmsted and Vaux 2 years, beginning in 1868. The main idea was to secure enough space for recreation and to make sure that there were scenic areas available to all residents. To accomplish this, he preserved the floodplain and the river banks as well as two open areas of upland.

The first act of construction was a shaded parkway to connect Riverside to Chicago. Also, Olmsted paid particular attention to the inner roads of the community making them as scenic as possible. He designed streets that followed the curve of the land and eased the grade of the slopes to fit his plans. Finally, he avoid all uses of right angle intersections.

His avoidance of right angles created more public space, which was pleasing to him. He also decided that the areas between public streets and houses was private land with a public function: it was the transitional area between public and private.

When all was said and done only 1000 acres of the land was developed, which meant the loss of one of the large open spaces envisioned.


For more information:

Revisiting Riverside: A Frederick Law Olmsted Community

The Olmsted Society

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