This experiment in conservation is also an experiment in transportation. That's because of Prairie Crossing's unique location, with two commuter railroads crossing just outside of the property. Homes are just a short walk or bike ride from the existing Metra station and a new one that is planned…Chicago's first suburbs grew up in the 19th Century around rail stops. Now Prairie Crossing is trying to copy that successful pattern of the past.
"Experiment on the Prairie: Transportation and conservation separate this development from rest of suburbia" by John Handley, The Chicago Tribune, September 29, 2002.
Prairie Crossing…may offer the Midwest's first contemporary alternative to subdivision planning…Prairie Crossing is…'a stepping-stone model,' an innovative experiment that bears repeating. Prairie Crossing may indeed provide a national and regional model urban development shaping the commissions of Midwestern planners and designers for years to come.
"Riverside Revisited?" by Frank Edgerton Martin, Landscape Architecture, August 1995.
In central Lake County, the development looks like a well edited version of the Midwest, knitting together the best of our small towns, suburbs, farms and open lands all together on some 670 acres. Big suburban houses look out onto restored prairies and wetlands. Kids from those houses can wander into a 150-acre organic farm to pick up some produce for the family. Their parents can walk to the Metra station along old farm hedgerows, listening to the resident birds chatter. The subdivision is at the western end of the 2,500-acre Liberty Prairie Reserve, a quilt of public land and various privately owned conservancy parcels that form a huge swath of preserved semirural land that stretches east to the Des Plaines river… Prairie Crossing's developers want to demonstrate that open space and land conservation can become selling points.
"To Serve and Protect," cover article on Vicky Ranney, Developer of Prairie Crossing, by Dennis Rodkin, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 23, 1999.
Scores on the latest state tests show 95 percent of [the Prairie Crossing Charter School's] pupils performing at or above state standards [making it one of the top ten performing schools in the State.] [The Prairie Crossing Charter School] grew to 220 students this fall from 160 after adding 5th grade. There, educators don't rely on textbooks; rather they use original sources like history books and selections from fiction, said Principal Kathy Johnston.
"2002 School Report Cards" by Michael Martinez and Darnell Little, The Chicago Tribune, November 16, 2002.
Homeowner Chuck Birch: 'I don't look at Prairie Crossing as anything new…It's a return to creating a community network of support that was part of American culture before World War II.'
"At Home in Prairie Crossing" by Steve Slack, Midwest Living, April 1998.
Prairie Crossing unquestionably shows that people and nature can live together… 'What's it like living at Prairie Crossing? You really feel like you're part of a rural community because everyone is so close together,' homeowner Mike Sands says. 'There are lots of small park areas where kids can play, so not everyone feels they need to have a backyard. A trail system has separate pedestrian and car circulation systems. And the landscaping just enhances it all, because you constantly have a sense of being outside in a natural area that doesn't feel managed, even though it is.'"
"Prairie Crossing Home: Native landscaping is becoming the norm in one Illinois Subdivision" by Camille Lefevre, Better Homes and Garden's Perennials, Summer 2001.
The following sites may be of interest: