Chicago, IL (2008-present)

Client: Metropolitan Planning Council

A screenshot of the Placemaking Chicago website

PPS was brought in by Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council to assist them in setting up a citywide Placemaking campaign. In collaboration, PPS and MPC produced a brand new, locally-oriented Placemaking publication with associated online content. PPS led onsite training courses for community and government leaders as well.

The cornerstone of the campaign was A Guide to Neighborhood Placemaking in Chicago, which was written to provide basic resources and guidance to communities that PPS cannot normally reach. The publication guides communities in evaluating their public spaces and provides a framework to engage local businesses and government in helping implement improvements. It also gives a full description of our process, including observation and assessment tools, as well as several local examples of Placemaking-inspired neighborhood improvements in Chicago.

Evaluating a public space near the training site

The campaign kicked off at the King Center on the South Side of Chicago with two days of on-site training. The first session was geared toward Chicago’s community group leaders, active residents, CDC and Special Service Area (SSA) administrators. It centered on strategies for building consensus and seeking the outside and sometimes unlikely partnerships that make Placemaking possible. The second group consisted of representatives from Chicago’s public sector, including staff from the Chicago Park District, Chicago Dept. of Transportation, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Chicago aldermanic offices, and other agencies.

Course participants identify their favorite places in the neighborhood

At the end of the first day, community participants drafted a list of “obstacles” to collaboration with city agencies, which were presented to public sector representatives on the second day. The campaign is currently supporting several demonstration projects and organizing more targeted placemaking forums for city agencies.

Since 1934, the MPC has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. Together, PPS and MPC hope to encourage new era of citizen led planning for great places in Chicago.

For more information on the Chicago campaign and to download a free copy of A Guide to Neighborhood Placemaking In Chicago, visit Placemaking Chicago.