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Rethink What  A River Can Be


Re-imagining urban rivers

Urban Rivers is a Chicago-based, environmental startup nonprofit organization (501(c)(3)), with two primary goals: improve the water quality of urban waterways and increase the natural habitat within their banks.

By accomplishing these goals, our experience, as well as scientific research, suggests the following will occur:

  • The local community will further engage with their river
    • Healthier, wilder and accessible rivers are simply more appealing
    • Our team has developed programming to educate children, provide local universities with one-of-a-kind research opportunities and involve community groups
  • The overall health and ecology of the river will improve
    • With cleaner water, more natural spaces and a more caring community, these critical urban wildlife corridors will significantly benefit native flora and fauna, as well as the communities built next to them
  • The local economy will be stimulated
    • As more people interact with their river, businesses and properties along the river, or that depend on the river through recreational opportunities (i.e. boating and fishing companies), will increase in value as customer traffic and property values increase
    • Urban greenery provides several measurable health benefits (mental and physical), reducing healthcare costs in communities

What we've accomplished 

  • 2016: Through our first successful Kickstarter campaign, corporate donations and grants from the partners below, and several fundraisers, we raised +$100,000

  • June 2017: Installed the initial 1,500 square feet of floating wetland and prairie habitat, which was Phase I of our 2020 vision of a mile-long floating eco-park, The Wild Mile

  • March 2018: Successfully raised +$5,000 on our second Kickstarter campaign to fund the first-ever, user-controlled Trash Robot

  • May 2018: Will install Phase II of The Wild Mile, which will consist of a floating forest, walkways and additional wetland and prairie habitat  


Our Partners 

Through cash and in-kind donations, materials and space access, and research collaboration, our partners help us achieve more each and every day. We greatly appreciate their support and are proud to have them on-board.

Please email us at, if you'd like to explore a potential partnership with Urban Rivers. 


Our Local Contributors 

Acquiring local backing has been one of our top priorities from Day 1 – these contributors have directly aided in several of our events and are helping grow awareness around Chicago. 


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