Southwest Airlines and PPS have partnered with the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative to reimagine a vacant lot in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood as a public space and the site of a Summer Pavilion designed by MAS Studio. The project is located directly across from the Arts + Public Life’s groundbreaking Arts Incubator and complements its focus on providing active and stimulating programming for the residents of Chicago's South Side and beyond. Informed by a series of workshops and events with neighbors and community groups, vibrant daily use of the Washington Park Arts Pavilion garden will be supported by new amenities such as benches, tables, chairs, and shading, flexible lawn space, and a rain garden. In addition to casual community gatherings, the Arts Incubator, working with other area organizations, will provide a dynamic program of activities featuring performances, music, outdoor movies, artist workshops, etc. The amenities for the site are being designed by Chicago-based artisans, and will be produced this summer with help from local students participating in the Incubator’s Design Apprenticeship Program. The Washington Park Arts Pavilion garden is scheduled to open in early summer.
The Washington Park Arts Pavilion is a major step in University of Chicago’s long-term commitment to breathing new life along Garfield Boulevard—long a neglected corridor. This project provides a critical space for efforts to reach out and empower this vibrant but in-need community, as well as a place the neighborhood as a whole can take proud ownership of.
Many great public spaces have grown out of communities resisting development. It is the evolution from opposition to proactive visioning - helping to create, finance, and manage public spaces - that often makes the opposition successful. Congress Square, and the community around it, are forging this story of transformation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio caused quite a stir around New York City yesterday as he floated the idea of tearing up the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. This statement was the culmination of several days of debate centered around predatory panhandling and the square’s growing number of “street performers.”