Donations help Chicago-area individuals transform rundown public sites into safe spaces that improve the health of their communities
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Placemaking: Bronzeville (51st Street and Calumet)
As part of the Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2014 Placemaking Challenge, volunteers will spend one weekend in August transforming and renovating underused spaces in their communities. Every $10 donation made through this page will help volunteers complete the following project.
- The Site: 320 E. 51st Street, corner of 51st Street and Calumet Avenue
- Its Current State: A formerly vacant lot in a community with plenty of potential for bicycle transportation. Bronzeville Bikes currently uses the space for its Bronzeville Bike Box—a 20-foot shipping container that’s been repurposed to provide bicycle repairs, rentals, merchandise, and bike tours.
- The Plan: Starting on August 17 at 2 p.m., Bronzeville Bikes will partner with South East Chicago Commission and Metropolitan Planning Council to host a bicycle-awareness event, where volunteers transform the empty lot into a bike-donation drop-off site complete with a bike sale for refurbished bikes, bike-safety demos, a bike tour, ice cream, and games.
- The Vision: Besides championing bike safety, this activation aims to promote Bronzeville as a bicycle-connected community, raising awareness of the potential bicycles have for being a key method of sustainable transportation for residents, commuters, businesses, and visitors. The organization also aims expand their operations in order to provide more services and reach out to more of Chicago’s South Side.
- The Total Cost: $1,000
About Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2014 Placemaking Challenge
If Chicagoland were a machine, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) would be the engineer ensuring its smooth operation. Through partnerships with businesses, communities, and governments, the MPC has worked to make Chicago a more prosperous place to live since 1934. Adhering to a philosophy of interconnectedness, the planners and developers behind the MPC understand that everything from transportation networks to public housing to the workforce fueling the economy must work together to keep the city healthy.
This summer, MPC is embarking on a quest to motivate Chicago-based individuals and community groups to activate and transform public spaces through the 2014 Placemaking Challenge. After equipping people with the necessary information and inspiration to transform underused neighborhood spots, the Placemaking challenge empowers them to make an impact. With the assistance of the community, participants will design and implement their Placemaking intervention of choice—whether transforming a trash-covered lot into a garden or adding allure to a dull retail strip—during the weekend of August 15–17.
Participants also have an opportunity to win one of four $1,000 prizes—including a Groupon Love Local Award sponsored by Groupon Grassroots—to fuel their efforts. By simply sharing and promoting their work in the neighborhood and Placemaking stories through the MPC website, participants are eligible for a prize. After a public vote and determination from MPC’s judges, winners will be selected, and all participants will celebrate at a September event.