City Design Center Overview
charting community assets Community Design Excellence curriculum support public forums participants

Interactive Websites

Chicago Imagebase
Begun in Spring 1997

The Chicago Imagebase is a demonstration website being developed to document comprehensive geographic, visual, statistical, and textual information on the Chicago metropolitan area. The Imagebase allows for viewing and analyzing information at all different spatial levels ranging from a specific building to a community, city, and region. This information allows the public to access on-line, previously difficult-to-come-by documents as well as design and planning proposals as they materialize. In addition, documents and images are updated by the Imagebase staff to keep information current. The public may also link their own information on the built environment to this interactive website.
Most recently, the Chicago Imagebase project has focused on adding additional documents and information as well as methods to improve the public’s access to the visual, text, and statistical materials. Information on specific Chicago locales and neighborhoods including the downtown Loop, North Lawndale, the Near West Side, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, and Morgan Park have been added. The Imagebase faculty and staff also have designed a new graphic interface which allows users to search for a wide range of information using various scale maps. For instance, for North Lawndale, a user may click on a neighborhood map to retrieve specific information such as parcel and property information and land use data. In addition a text-based indexing system is being refined to ease the website user’s search.
In the immediate future, the Chicago Imagebase project will continue to expand its coverage of the Chicago region’s built environment. For instance, a series of contributed photographs of community murals located throughout the city will be catalogued to be accessed by a text and map based search.

chicago map with project location
Map of project location:
Chicago metropolitan area

Gateway to the Chicago Imagebase photo by Bob Thall from The Perfect City

Gateway to the Chicago Imagebase photo
by Bob Thall from The Perfect City
Michigan Boulevard
Art Institute, Chicago's downtown circa 1893,
Rand McNally's Bird's-Eye Views & Guide to Chicago
Fire insurance map of downtown Chicago,
Robinson Atlases of Downtown Chicago, ca. 1886
Chicago Theater
Chicago Theater, Bob Thall, The Perfect City
The Columbian Exposition, Administration Building seen from the roof, 1893, Charles Dudley Arnold photograph
Meyer Building: exterior, medallion corner
Meyer Building exterior, medallion corner detail
Aerial Photograph of Lake Michigan
Aerial view of Chicago Loop (downtown), Alex MacLean photograph

Web Site

City Design Center Affiliated Faculty and Staff


Khier Al-Kodmany, Assistant Professor, Urban Planning and Policy Program
Jim Bash, Associate Director, CAGIS Project, Department of Geography
Robert Bruegmann, Professor, Department of Art History
Jane Darcovich, Director, Slide Library, College of Architecture and the Arts
Lin Dou, Resident Librarian, UIC Library
Peter Hales, Professor, Department of Art History
John Shuler, Documents Librarian, UIC Library
David Sokol, Professor, Department of Art History
Alex Stern, Associate Director, Adjunct Associate Professor School of Architecture, Technology Coordinator College of Architecture and the Arts


Diane Farley, former Program Coordinator, City Design Center
George Hemmens, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy Program, and former Co-Director, City Design Center

Collaborating Organization

Center for Neighborhood Technology


UI Advanced Learning Technologies in Higher Education (ALTHE)
UIC College of Architecture and the Arts
UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
UIC Office of the Provost
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