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Vote by Oct. 5 to select the Space in Between People's Choice winner

(Chicago) ... The data is in: Placemaking is rampant in greater Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary! Dozens of individuals and organizations from the tri-state region have entered the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) “Space in Between” contest, which recognizes the most creative transformations of vacant lots and buildings into vibrant community places – and between Sept. 10 and Oct. 5, 2012, it’s time for the public to vote on their favorite, at

Placemaking is a community-based approach to planning, designing and managing great public places. Placemakers challenge us to confront vacant lots and empty storefronts, instead of turning our heads from the fenced off, boarded up eyesores in so many of our communities – or passively waiting for investors and developers to feel comfortable in our neighborhoods again. The Space in Between contest re-focuses our energy, creativity and funds on the great potential for meaningful places to exist between a vacant space’s current state and its ideal, finished state. 

“We have received so many incredible entries,” says Marisa Novara, MPC Placemaking project manager. “It’s really amazing to see the energy and creativity flowing in our communities. People are realizing how accessible and achievable a vibrant neighborhood can be.” 

Three winners will be selected: two by Placemaking Chicago’s Review Panel, and one by public votes online at Between now and Oct. 5, 2012, 11:59 p.m. CDT, go to to vote for your favorite entry from among the 40-plus submissions from people who temporarily turned a place that was forgotten, ignored, vacant, transitional, blighted or misused into a community asset. 

Novara encourages voters to evaluate the projects based on three criteria:

  • Originality: How unique is the project?
  • Accessibility: Is the area easy to get to?
  • Practicality: Is there an element to the project that promotes and facilitates sustained social interaction? Does the project have the potential to build community? Would you spend time here? 

Winners will receive cash prizes and the chance to tell the story of their favorite temporary use of a public place at an awards ceremony on Nov. 1, 2012. Plus, they will have the opportunity to campaign with Groupon Grassroots to expand or extend their Placemaking project. 

For more background on the value of temporarily repurposing vacant space, read Novara's post on MPC's blog, The Connector, Putting Vacant Space to Use, In the Meantime, and visit

Michaels Development Company and Groupon Grassroots are generous sponsors of the contest. 

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.

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