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MADISON STREET CORRIDOR / EAST GARFIELD PARK

How do we imagine more inclusive and meaningful planning and visioning processes for historically disinvested neighborhood corridors?

Oftentimes, typical planning and engagement processes are rushed and provide little space for reflection and acknowledgment of historic inequities, as well as the impact of harm and trauma caused by systemic racism that has mostly impacted communities of color. On the other hand, these same communities have also seen one planning effort after another without a clear accountability or implementation framework resulting in plan documents that stay on the shelf or without tangible outcomes causing planning fatigue and feeling of hopelessness. In short, processes where communities don’t feel their own. At City Open we believe that planning and design processes should be opportunities to connect past, present and future while supporting and strengthening communities' capacity of self-determination. 

 

This season City Open Workshop will focus on the Madison Street commercial corridor on Chicago’s West Side – East Garfield Park. Inspired by recent reporting from ProPublica Illinois Disinvested that documents decades of targeted disinvestment in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, City Open Workshop will dedicate its Spring 2021 season to develop research, strategize outreach and engagement methods, include individual and institutional storytelling, and explore creative documentation among others to collaboratively frame a community visioning process for Madison Avenue. 

 

In 2020, Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development embarked on their INVEST South/West initiative, which seeks to bring new investment to struggling commercial corridors across the South, West, and Southwest sides. Madison Street, among other heavily disinvested corridors, and though a commercial corridor, didn’t make the cut for the list of selected neighborhoods. City Open workshop in collaboration with AIA Chicago will dedicate this season to study and frame possibilities for a design and planning process that is responsive to the specific challenges of Madison Street.

 

Understanding that the corridor holds multiple histories of empowerment, including the Black Panther Party, Black working-class growth, the 5th Avenue/5th City development—as well as multiple documented sources of community trauma such as the MLK riots of 1968—City Open participants will engage with complicated histories and research. They will examine tools for outreach, documentation, and communication; identify community partners, and collaboratively frame the most pressing issues faced by the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.

Photo illustration: Lisa Larson-Walker/ProPublica, Source Images: Chicago Public Library, Special Collections, Department of Urban Renewal Records.

Spring 2021

Workshop Core Team:

Anjulie Rao

Genevieve Wasser

Louisa Zheng 

Partner Organization:

AIA Chicago

© 2020 by CITY OPEN Workshop.