Photo credit: Chicago Bungalow Association.

The Built Environment

The Driehaus Foundation works to ensure that viable, healthy urban environments are designed to meet the needs of the humans who inhabit them. We are committed to the idea that successful historic preservation, urban planning, and new architecture must be understood and undertaken as part of a decades-long continuum that endows a given city, town, or village with a singular sense of place. 

Historic districts and their buildings, parks, fountains, and public art, are often the anchors of a community, a source of beauty and pride, and an opportunity to reflect on America’s complex history. Urban open spaces—from pocket parks to plazas—are an essential feature of any healthy urban environment offering spaces for recreation, relaxation, and reflection. Landscape design influences how we see and move through the built environment.

We support organizations and projects that advocate for effective policies, undertake urban planning aimed at the preservation of Chicago’s historic built fabric, protect its parks and open spaces, and otherwise celebrate and preserve the unique character of its neighborhoods.


While we support a limited number of statewide and national organizations, our funding is primarily focused on Chicago. The Foundation supports efforts that:

  • Encourage public awareness through competitions, awards, charrettes, exhibitions, journals, and books.
  • Engage in advocacy to promote effective policies.
  • Convey the skills of historic preservation to organizations and individuals from other fields.
  • Reinforce a sense of place and preserve historic fabric.
  • Involve a collaborative planning process in which learning flows in both directions, from the community to design professionals and back again.

We do not support “bricks and mortar” preservation projects, capital campaigns, or endowments.

For more information, contact Amy Domagalski, Project Administrator/Executive Assistant, at or call (312) 641-5772.