Interesting Concept Plan for a Domed Soldier's Field in Chicago

Chicago proposes a major redevelopment of Soldier's Field in an effort to keep the Chicago Bears in the City of Chicago. The Bears plan to build a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights.

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The illustration below is the concept that the Bears are pursuing a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois on the site of a former racetrack. The Bears are under contract to play in Soldier's Field until 2033 so a new stadium will not be built for some time.

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The discussion reminds me of a proposal I made in a little book I wrote called Dreams & Schemes, Plans to Improve The Chicago Region. The section about a high-rise stadium is excerpted below:


It is widely recognized that a domed stadium is a desirable attribute for U.S. cities. Chicago has long sought an enclosed stadium.  The high costs of the construction of domed stadiums have thus far precluded development.  The purpose of this essay is to outline a new type of stadium that can be constructed in high-density downtown areas.  
As any developer knows, increased density often brings higher revenues.  More units per acre is a basic developmental rule to spread land and infrastructure costs across a higher number of tenants.  This rule, however, is usually ignored in stadium development.  Most stadiums are simple playing fields surrounded by a few stories of seating, which are seldom used. It is, therefore, difficult to develop new stadiums in downtown areas. They are generally constructed in lower-cost areas outside the city central business district, with heavy public subsidies.
The recent construction of sky boxes in Soldier's Field illustrates a simple increase in density. The rental rate of the sky boxes is substantial.  The sky boxes themselves provide a comfortable way of observing events. The initial development of one story of sky boxes was followed by a second story. The success of the sky boxes points the way for future stadiums.
Clustering modern high-rise buildings around a stadium would permit the interior side of the buildings to function as sky boxes.  The buildings would combine traditional seating around the playing field with high-rise office, commercial, or residential development on all sides of the stadium. A hotel and convention center would be an obvious use for part or all of the buildings surrounding the stadium.  Office space in the structure would become the ultimate status address, with commensurate rents.
The building may or may not be enclosed at the roof.  The structure of the roof is also in question. It could be left open, be a dome, a pyramid, or rentable floor space. The surrounding building could be cantilevered toward the center, reducing the size and cost of the roof.
The ultimate height of the structures around the stadium depends on market conditions and on how high the structure can be before the view of the field is compromised. Lower space would be the most desirable since it would be closest to the playing field. All interior tenants of the buildings would have an excellent view of the playing field below.  
In concept, the enclosed stadium is similar to the enormous atriums now in vogue in hotels.  The density derived makes possible stadiums in high-cost downtown locations.  The actual footprint of the development need be no greater than a  conventional stadium, which is little larger than a city block.
The new stadium should be open to the public and function as a park atrium when not in use. Concerts, plays, lectures, etc could be conducted.  The stadium would thus become a focal point for activity in a high-density downtown location.  
A high-rise stadium in downtown Chicago is feasible.  It should be built adjacent to or in the Loop so that the existing parking, transit, and service business are used. The downtown location would enhance the loop and central city. It should be constructed.


My Engine Nest


I took my one year old car in to get a tire repaired. The dealer opened the hood - and voila!  Some unknown creature had started a nest. They said this is common for cars that are not driven for a while. But I drive it every day.

Populations Growth

Fifty years ago concern for rapid population growth was a major concern. 

"The Population Bomb is a 1968 book co-authored by Stanford University Professor emeritus Paul R. Ehrlich and Stanford senior researcher emeritus in conservation biology Anne Howland Ehrlich.[1][2] It predicted worldwide famine due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Fears of a "population explosion" existed in the mid-20th century baby boom years, but the book and its authors brought the idea to an even wider audience.[3][4][5]"

Their projections were accurate at the time. Their projections influenced many planners, and many of us were dealing with rapid growth in rapidly urbanizing areas.  We were very concerned about environmental challenges caused by too many people.

But things have changed.  Projections are always difficult, especially for the future.

Urbanization, economic improvements, and birth control are reducing this threat. The worldwide birth rate continues to drop as people decide to have fewer children. All the advanced western countries have below replacement rates. Zero population growth rate is 21.0 births per 1,000 women. 

According to CIA sources, here are the birth rates per 1,000 women in the world's most populated countries.

China             9.93

India             16.82

USA             12.28

This is a good thing. The world population is 8 billion and growing, but the growth rate has dramatically reduced.


The two tables below show the 2023 Birth rates for the countries with the highest birth rates.

The table below shows birth rates and growth rates for Indonesia, the country with the 4th highest population.


So planners will now deal with the new reality. We will still deal with rapid growth in some rapidly areas such as Texas and Florida.

Wellington, New Zealand


Wellington is a lovely city.  A few homeless, but not nearly as bad as US cities.  Many people know Sarasota from hurricane Ian.  They are fascinated that we have alligators in our front yard. No alligators or crocodiles here. In fact they have no indigenous wild animals other than lizards! 

Beautiful city.  As lovely as Cape Town, but not nearly as many social problems. 

We see indigenous Maori pretty integrated into society.  Many mixed races including many Asians. 

Had the best Chinese food ever last night.  Ate at a darling Bistro restaurant tonight.

Funicular up to a glorious view of the city with lunch.   Walked around the cliff. 

Tomorrow catch the ferry to the South Island. 


Click for more photos of Wellington

More about our trip to New Zealand at:

Feeling Guilty

Feeling guilty. We will miss Hurricane Ian that is headed for our home near Sarasota, Florida. We are in the Pacific Ocean on a cruise headed to New Zealand.

I helped form a CERT Team (Community Emergency Response Team) for our development. Went to the training and got some nice gear. And now we will have a disaster and I am not around to help.

Oh, well, our condo is new and built like a fortress. Unlikely for it to suffer damage. I feel for the folks in older buildings.

Our friends live closer to the beach. We told them to move in and they should.


Beth and I were prepared for Hurricane Irma in 2017, in the closet with our motorcycle helmets on.


Interesting Concept Plan for a Domed Soldier's Field in Chicago

Chicago proposes a major redevelopment of Soldier's Field in an effort to keep the Chicago Bears in the City of Chicago. The Bears plan ...