Architecture-Focused Graphic Novel Highlights Chicago’s Neighborhood History

No Small Plans Chapter 1

An excerpt from 'No Small Plans,' a graphic novel highlighting Chicago's urban planning history.


August 7, 2017

The Chicago Architectural Foundation (CAF) is launching a Kickstarter-funded graphic novel that follows the neighborhood adventures of teens in the past, present and future in creating the spaces they want through architecture and urban planning.

The graphic novel, called “No Small Plans,” was inspired by a text called the 1911 Wacker’s Manual, a book given to students to concisely describe legendary architect Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, according to the CAF.

An excerpt from ‘No Small Plans,’ a graphic novel highlighting Chicago’s architectural history.

The book is filled with striking illustrations of the city of Chicago, split across three parts set in the years 1928, 2017 and 2211. Each chapter includes a map of what the city looks like in that year, including an imagining of what the city might look like in the future. Each section also includes a few paragraphs about Burnham, and his vision for Chicago in 1909 and the challenges of urban planning and architectural strategy.

The foundation plans to give away 30,000 copies of the book to teachers to give to their students. Individuals interested in purchasing single copies can do so at

SS10 cover