What do we do?
CITY OPEN Workshop is a hands-on bi-weekly meet up to share, learn and contribute to civic projects connecting city design and public policy. Our mission is to bring design to communities as a platform for citizen-driven change.
We are a collaborative group united in the belief that design should be open for all as a platform for change and participation in the civic realm. Our programming is open to the public and aims to build meaningful collaborations between community partners, engaged scholars, policymakers, and the urban planning and design community to foster civic discourse about Chicago’s built environment and spark curiosity and investment in its communities. Our open nature means our participants change from week to week and season to season but we believe everyone who supports us deserves to be recognized.
CITY OPEN cultivates a platform for long-term relationships and practices knowledge-sharing to support our community partners in advancing their own visions for policy and design innovation at all scales by providing our partners the resources, knowledge, data, and tools to effectuate transformative and aspirational visions for the future of their communities.
Our workshops have a simple & consistent agenda: (1) everyone introduces themselves, (2) co-organizers present a short background / general overview / announcements, and (3) project leaders or guest speakers present their project initiative(s); finally, (4) participants join a group to workshop current projects.
How does it work?
Why a platform to support civic projects? We are very inspired by emerging platforms organized by young professionals in Chicago and U.S. testing models for supporting public interest projects and civic initiatives through volunteering work: The One Plus (Architecture and Planning), Chi Hack Nights (Data and Technology). Equally important, they are also creating communities of civic-minded and passionate people supporting their communities. We are very interested in enabling a space where engaged scholars, policymakers, and the urban design and planning community can do the same.
Why civic projects? Design should be available as a tool and process of community and citizen engagement. Oftentimes, we expect design only from the private sector or more technologically savvy stakeholders. Just like advocacy and open data, design should be open to all as a platform for change and participation in the civic realm.
What to bring? Bring your (a) skills and tools— laptop or favorite markers highly recommended!, (b) research and/or reference materials that you think would be helpful for workshopping. Just want to brainstorm with us, that's also ok! Although we encourage the DOING or MAKING part of the workshop, everyone is welcome to participate at CITY OPEN Workshop.
We are very thankful for our amazing network of professionals and colleagues that have joined our workshop and shared their super interesting work! Thank you for inspiring us and letting us learn from your initiatives, experience and knowledge—look for our session notes in the Past Workshops menu:
Workshop #2 (March 11): Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Paula Robinson)
Workshop #6 (May 1): Civc Data & Built Environment (Jeff Berg)
City Open Team
Paola Aguirre (co-founder) is an architectural and urban designer, educator, and founder of Borderless, Chicago-based urban design and research studio focused on collaborative design agency through interdisciplinary projects.
Elle Ramel (co-founder) is an urban planner, urban strategist, and Director of Development at Farpoint Development – innovative Chicago-based real estate development firm with over 30 years of project experience.
Gabrielle Lyon is a life-long organization builder and social entrepreneur with a deep passion for education, and founder and principal of Lyon Strategies LLC. She's a social impact designer by trade and optimistic convener.
Anjulie Rao is a Chicago-based architecture/design journalist focused on livable built environments, public spaces, architecture criticism, and radical urbanism.
Lindsey Conklin is an urban anthropologist and researcher who works at the intersection of social impact design, the built environment, and community development.
Troy Pieper strategizes content, specializes in communications, and writes on design.
Morgan Malone is a policy analyst, operations fanatic, and good government aficionado.
PAST ORGANIZING TEAM MEMBERS
Charlie Barlow is a public policy researcher and strategist, and Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and Programs at Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
Greg Morse is an architectural designer concerned with transferring the power of design from the few to the many.
Kevin Dunphy is an architect, urban planner and strategist at CannonDesign where he focuses on master planning and community engagement in Chicago, the US and abroad.
Emma Cuciurean-Zapan is an architect, urban planner and strategist at CannonDesign where she also actively participates in Open Hand Studio, an incubator for public interest design projects within the firm.