Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Makes Hyde Park Great?

posted by chicago pop

A note of interest from Chicago's very own Metropolitan Planning Council:

The nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council is sponsoring a new photo and video contest to highlight Chicagoland's best public places.

The "What Makes Your Place Great?" contest is calling on architecture, urban design, photo and video buffs -- and anyone else who is interested -- to submit photos or videos of their favorite public places in Chicagoland, along with short written descriptions about why their favorite places contribute to their communities.

"Buying Asparagus at Daley Plaza Farmer's Market"

The contest is part of one of our major projects,, Chicago's hub for "placemaking" tips -- guidance for improving your neighborhood, one bench, flower pot, or dog park at a time.

"Softball Game in Pilsen"

After July 27, there will be an online public voting process to pick the People's Choice Award in each category. A panel of Placemaking experts also will select a Grant Prize winner in each category, for a total of four awards. The prize packages are pretty sweet (see below).

"Chicago Streetscape"



(Chicago) … Chicagoland is a patchwork of thousands of great neighborhood places that define our lives by inspiring us, relaxing us, and encouraging us to sit and talk awhile with our neighbors. To find the best places in Chicagoland, Placemaking Chicago, a project of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), today launched the “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest on

From June 3 through July 27, 2009, entrants can e-mail original photos or videos showcasing their favorite public places across Chicagoland, along with a 250-word-or-less description, to (Complete rules and submission criteria guidelines are available at Entrants may feature places in the City of Chicago or in Chicago suburbs located in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in Illinois; or in Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties in Indiana; or in Racine and Kenosha counties in Wisconsin.)

“Show and tell us not only why your favorite place is special to you, but also how it contributes to your community,” said MPC Associate Karin Sommer, who manages the Placemaking Chicago project. “Is it somewhere people go to relax or meet up with friends? What are some unique ways people use the space? And what is it about this place that keeps you coming back?”

Four winners, two photo and two video, will be announced on Sept. 25, 2009. One winner in each category will receive a Grand Prize award, selected by a committee of Placemaking experts; and one winner in each category will receive a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote on from Aug. 10 to Sept. 14, 2009. Winners will have the opportunity to showcase their favorite places at an MPC event in October, and they will win prize packages including:

  • Chicago Architecture Foundation walking tour tickets;
  • A trio of “Co-op Hot sauce” made from chiles grown in NeighborSpace community gardens in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood;
  • Passes to the Art Institute of Chicago, donated by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago;
  • MPC roundtable tickets;
  • A gift certificate from Branch 27, Browntrout, or Feast restaurants, or Seven Ten Lanes; and
  • Boulevard Lakefront Bike Tour tickets and membership in the Active Transportation Alliance (a special prize for People’s Choice Award winners).

MPC and Placemaking Chicago are grateful for donations from these organizations and restaurants, as well as from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.


Placemaking is a people-centered approach to community planning that starts with neighborhood residents and businesses creating a vision for a public space, and then working together to make that vision a reality. In 2008, MPC worked with the New York-based Project for Public Spaces ( to develop the first-ever city-specific guidebook on Placemaking, “The Guide to Neighborhood Placemaking in Chicago.” MPC and PPS co-facilitated two workshops in the fall of 2008 to train community activists, local leaders, and city agency staff in Placemaking techniques. In 2009, MPC teamed up with WPB (the Special Service Area for Wicker Park and Bucktown) and local residents and businesses to come up with ideas to transform the Polish Triangle at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue, and Division Street in Chicago into a great gathering place. More than 700 people contributed ideas through an online network, online public survey, and a two-day open house in March. MPC and WPB continue to work with residents to form a vision for the Polish Triangle based on the ideas they’ve generated so far. Stay tuned for news about summer events in the Polish Triangle!

Learn more about Placemaking – and read the complete “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest rules and submission guidelines – at; or by contacting MPC Associate Karin Sommer, at 312-863-6044 or

Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth.


Anonymous said...

Very cool. A friend of mine was a CAF docent before she moved a couple years ago and those tours are lost of fun, informative, and well worth the price. Of course, I got a freebie since she was practicing for her exam at the time. :-)

Take some pictures, folks. Free stuff!!

Mandy said...

If you need inspiration, check out for a sampling of submissions we've received so far. We know there are amazing places in Hyde Park, and we look forward to receiving your entries. Thanks!

PJS said...

Thanks for posting this. We appreciate all the publicity we can get. I am sure Hyde Park has a few places folks are proud of?

PJS said...

Thanks for posting this, we really appreciate the promotion. I suspect Hyde Park has a few places of note!
-Peter Skosey

bornatreese said...

Plus, all the hair styling and manicure places you'd ever need.