Illinois Medical District Master Plan

The Illinois Medical District (IMD) is one of the largest urban medical districts in the U.S. and is strategically located west of Chicago’s downtown core, “The Loop.” This special-use zoning district consists of 560 acres of medical research facilities, laboratories, a biotech business incubator, raw development land, universities, and more than 40 healthcare-related facilities. SCB was commissioned by the Illinois Medical District leadership to develop a new master plan to guide the district development and support economic growth.


Chicago, IL


Planning and Urban Design /
Planning + Strategies /

The District is a 24/7/365 environment that includes world-class medical centers, which employs over 30,000 people. Medical centers include Rush University Medical Center, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, The John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, The University of Illinois Hospital, and Health Sciences System. Within the next 10 years, the District anticipates to generate between 2,000 and 4,500 new permanent jobs; spur business development resulting in $300 million in new revenue; drive research innovation in medical science, information technology, biotechnology, and medical devices; and improve health care for the community.

Key elements of the IMD urban planning effort include developing a coordinated vision and framework plan for strategic district development with the key stakeholder institutions, and build-out scenarios with density, land use, and zoning recommendations. The master plan establishes urban design guidelines for key development sites and gateways, open space network, and a multi-mode access plan for transportation. This plan is a critical component of the IMD strategic plan, and integrates joint initiatives with IMD partners to develop shared facilities and strategic real estate catalyst projects.

The master plan’s goals are to transform the IMD into a destination beyond a place of employment and healthcare by establishing guidelines to add a new level of economic vibrancy to the district, reposition obsolete facilities, maximize development and leasing opportunities, develop the remaining 30 acres of vacant land, revitalize the Chicago Tech Park, and attract top firms and talent.