Nominate Chicagoland’s Best "Undiscovered" Public Space - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Nominate Chicagoland’s Best "Undiscovered" Public Space

Enter the "What Makes Your Place Great?: Your Secret Corner of Chicagoland" contest!

The Chicago region is known for well-used plazas, parks, sidewalks and gardens that bring the city to life. Many of these special places are hidden in the heart of our neighborhoods, known only to a lucky few. These secret havens form connections between neighbors and places, and are as important as famous landmarks are to the metropolitan region. 

Last summer, dozens of people entered the “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest by sending the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) original photographs and videos of their favorite public spaces in Chicagoland. Some 40 photos and 11 videos told the story of gardens and public plazas, coffee shops and hiking trails. More than 8,000 votes later, four public spaces emerged from these 51 nominees as shining examples of the positive impact Chicagoland’s amazing public spaces have on residents, businesses, communities – the entire region. 

MPC is hosting the contest once again, this time in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF). This summer, we want to know about your favorite “undiscovered” public space in Chicagoland. What public space do you go back to again and again, and why? It could be your favorite secret garden, nestled in an empty lot in your neighborhood, or a beautiful courtyard invisible from the street. Maybe it’s a quiet upstairs reading nook at a local library, or a peaceful plaza that tends to be overlooked in favor of its more crowded, famous next-door neighbor. 

From June 2 through July 26, 2010, send a photo or video of your favorite hidden public space, along with a short description about why it’s so special to you, to and you could win great prizes and the chance to be featured in a CAF tour this fall!

Read the full guidelines for entry and voting at Questions? Please contact Karin Sommer, MPC Associate and Placemaking Chicago Project Manager, at 312-863-6044 or

MPC and Placemaking Chicago are grateful for the generous contributions of our sponsors and donors:

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

Prince Charitable Trusts



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For more than 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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