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Kara Riggio

Kara joined MPC in 2012 and works primarily on community development through place-based approaches on projects including Great Rivers Chicago, Corridor Development Initiative and Placemaking. Her work focuses on creating vibrant, well-used public spaces through community engagement, developing a new and comprehensive vision for Chicago’s rivers, and helping communities proactively plan for new development scenarios.

Kara co-led MPC's research on the impact of Chicago's People Spots and our 2014 Placemaking Challenge, Old Place New Tricks, which equipped communities across the City with tools to take on their own Placemaking initiatives. Kara regularly works with stakeholders and governmental leaders on issues related to neighborhood vibrancy and public space. Kara is a member of Project for Public Spaces’ Placemaking Leadership Council and Chicago Loop Alliance’s Placemaking Committee, as well as a member of her local park advisory council.

A native of Connecticut, Kara taught in public schools for six years before pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Kara completed training with the Project for Public Spaces in New York, has worked with the League of Illinois Bicyclists and studied in China on a Fulbright-Hayes scholarship.

Kara lives in Edgewater, and enjoys spending time with her husband and their daughter.


  1. Learning and partying at one event: The Chicago River Day fest

    • By Kara Riggio and MPC Research Assistant Isobel Araujo
    • May 13, 2015

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Photo of Kara Riggio


Kara Riggio Manager
312 863 6022

Areas of expertise

  • Placemaking
  • Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure
  • Great Rivers Chicago
  • Placemaking
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Water 
  • Education



M.U.P.P., Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago
B.A., Studio Art and Art Education, University of Maryland, College Park                                 Fulbright-Hayes Scholar

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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