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Metropolitan Planning Council challenging web developers to create ‘Placemaking’ mobile application for Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois contest

App must help people find, create, sustain and/or share vibrant public places in metropolitan Chicago; special prize of $2,500 sponsored by IBM 

(Chicago) … What if you could pull up a Google map on your mobile phone that pinpoints your location and tells you about family-friendly activities taking place nearby at that moment? Or how about an app that calculates, in real time, how lively a neighborhood gathering place is, to encourage more of your neighbors to come out and join in the fun? 

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) thinks there should be an app for that – and other great ideas that enliven and improve Chicagoland’s public places. Thanks to a sponsorship from IBM, the 77-year-old nonprofit organization is offering a special prize of $2,500 for the best Placemaking application submitted to Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois (A4MC). This regionwide competition invites web developers and community groups to use data sets offered by the City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to solve problems in metropolitan Chicago. Web developers are competing for more than $50,000 in prizes by creating web applications to help city residents and visitors get more out of their transportation systems, neighborhoods, and the region. 

“At their best, public places support job markets, provide recreational opportunities to keep communities healthy, turn strangers into neighbors, and help make Chicagoland the world-class destination it is,” said Marisa Novara, project manager, MPC. “That’s why we’re challenging web developers to wow us with apps that help residents and visitors explore and improve upon vibrant public places across the region.” 

The winning Placemaking app will help people find, create, sustain and/or share vibrant public places. To be considered for the Placemaking app contest, developers must: 

  • Check the box marked “Placemaking” when submitting online at
  • Create an app that helps users find, create, sustain and/or share vibrant public places in metropolitan Chicago.
  • Clearly demonstrate that their app helps people tap into the 11 Principles of Placemaking. Learn about the 11 Principles of Placemaking at
  • Comply with all A4MC requirements.

Web developers also must use data sets provided by A4MC partners on the contest web site, For example, the City of Chicago has made available data sets, available on A4MC's web site, that identify places in the city where opportunities for Placemaking exist, such as Malls and Plazas, Habitats, Boulevards, Riverwalks, Neighbor Space Gardens, and Campus Parks. 

Metropolitan Planning Council is an independent, nonpartisan organization that serves communities and residents in greater Chicagoland by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth. Through Placemaking Chicago (, MPC supports the creation and care of public spaces across Chicagoland. MPC’s Placemaking award is generously sponsored by IBM. 

Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois, facilitated by Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC), is an open data collaboration between the City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and Motorola Mobility Foundation. 

For more information about Placemaking or the Placemaking apps challenge, contact MPC Assistant Communications Director Mandy Burrell Booth, at 312-863-6018 or For more information about Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois, contact MCIC Director of Development and External Communications Kathryn Auerbach, at 312-580-2597 or

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For 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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