Preservation of Affordable Housing


The Jackson Development site provides an alternative conventional rainwater harvesting methods by diverting the building downspouts into bio-infiltration planters, helping replenish local groundwater and alleviate impact on the City’s stormwater infrastructure.


Chicago, Illinois

Service Line

Project Highlights

  • 2013 Residential Energy Efficiency Award
  • Richard H. Driehaus, 3rd Place Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, 2014
  • LEED for Homes Award

Developers selected the Jackson at Woodlawn Park for the first phase redevelopment of the Grove Park Plaza subsidized housing complex. The neighborhood, previously known as Woodlawn Center South, is part of Chicago’s historic Woodlawn neighborhood.

ECT was hired to provide integrated landscape and stormwater design services, in conjunction with the Boston-based developer Preservation of Affordable Housing and Chicago-based architects Landon Bone Baker. Phase 1 leveraged Illinois Housing Development Agency (IHDA) Low Income Housing Tax Credits to build two mid-block, multi-family units to anchor future redevelopment of the neighborhood.

The site was designed to harvest rainwater from building downspouts, exposing the flow of water from the rooftop into bio-infiltration planters. Water then percolates into the soils, helping to replenish local groundwater and alleviate the impact on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. This approach provided an economic alternative to meeting the city’s stormwater requirements, while gaining credit for both the LEED for Homes and IHDA Green Checklist.

The site design sought to balance the rigorous expectations of the client to provide a secure and supportive outdoor environment for their tenants, with the realistic limits of the long-term site maintenance budget. To achieve these stringent objectives, ECT developed protected, yet accessible, planting areas that framed visual connections throughout the site, providing tenant exposure to the seasonal changes in the native and adapted plant palette, and reducing the likelihood of soil compaction. In addition, the strategic use of vegetated screens provided tenants with a level of privacy that was otherwise unobtainable due to the proximity of South Cottage Grove Avenue.