Urban Activators

Placemaking in Bronzeville



Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood was a vibrant center of African American culture in the early 1900s, but its recent history has been marked by vacancy and economic decline. In summer 2012, architect Monica Chadha and her students from the Illinois Institute of Technology identified the intersection of 43rd and Calumet, where three of the four corners were vacant lots, for a small pilot project to create positive community gathering places. Working with residents and business owners to define the community’s needs, Chadha and her students developed a system of portable, lightweight furniture, including game tables and storage bins, as well as a Candy Chang – style community message board that invites debate about the future of the neighborhood. Residents continue to use the furniture, and the project spurred a community-led cleanup of the most derelict of the corner lots.

Accessibility, Community, Economy, Information, Pleasure
4 weeks
11 + community participants
Problem - lack of community gathering places in an under-supported neighborhhood
Solution - provide a site for positive interaction and inspire long-term activation