Vote now through Sept. 10 for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana's favorite 'undiscovered' place - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Vote now through Sept. 10 for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana's favorite 'undiscovered' place

(Chicago) … What’s Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s favorite undiscovered public place? Is it a community garden, a neighborhood coffee shop, or an overlooked plaza? The people will decide from Aug. 9 to Sept. 10, 2010, when they vote online at for their favorite of two dozen finalists in the “What Makes Your Place Great? Your Secret Corner of Chicagoland” photo and video contest.  

To find the undiscovered places that make Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana great, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) called on people to submit a photo or video and written description of their favorite public place in the region.

“We received a great response from people across Chicagoland, from Northwest Indiana to Naperville,” said Karin Sommer, MPC project manager. “People really cherish their secret public spaces as part of the essential fabric of their lives and communities.”

The public can view all 24 contest entries and vote on the “People’s Choice” winner at between now and Sept. 10. Voters are encouraged to review all of the fantastic entries, which showcase not only some of the region’s secret gems, but also some truly beautiful and inspiring photography and videography.

A committee of Placemaking experts will choose three “Placemakers” winners, and all four winners will be announced Sept. 17.

Winners’ may have their undiscovered places featured on an exclusive CAF tour in October 2010. Winners also will receive complimentary passes to one of the following Chicagoland institutions: 

  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation

MPC and CAF are grateful for donations from these organizations, as well as the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and Perkins+Will.

Here’s the list of nominees:


Sip Coffee House & Garden, West Loop
Experimental Station, Woodlawn
The Enterprising Kitchen, Ravenswood
Promontory Circle in Jackson Park, Hyde Park/South Shore/Woodlawn
Japanese Garden in Jackson Park, Hyde Park/South Shore/Woodlawn
Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art, Oakland
Peterson Garden, West Ridge
Glenwood Avenue Arts District, Rogers Park
Lake Street Bridge, Loop
Heritage Station Community Garden, Englewood
Growing Station Community Garden, Pilsen
Hermitage Triangle Community Garden, Wicker Park

Cook County

Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, Skokie
Crossroads of Downtown Arlington Heights (Vail Avenue and Campbell Street)
Baker's Lake Nature Preserve, Barrington
South Cook Street, Barrington
Ridgeville Park, Evanston
Awaking Muse, Schaumburg

DuPage County

Millennium Carillon, Naperville
Naper Settlement, Naperville

McHenry County

Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, Crystal Lake

Will County

Will County Forest Preserve District

Northwest Indiana

Carlson-Oxbow Nature Park, Hammond
Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, Valparaiso

About Placemaking Chicago: Placemaking is an approach to planning that focuses on the importance of lively neighborhoods and inviting public spaces to residents and communities. 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.” Through Placemaking Chicago, MPC is helping municipalities and city and suburban planning agencies incorporate Placemaking principles into their plans.

Last summer, dozens of people entered the “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest. Their photos and 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 the nominees as shining examples of the positive impact Chicagoland’s amazing public spaces have on residents, businesses, communities – the entire region. See a map of last year’s winners at

About Chicago Architecture Foundation: The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public interest and education in architecture and design. The Chicago Architecture Foundation pursues this mission through architecture tours, exhibitions, panel discussions, and youth and adult education programs. The current exhibition, Chicago Model City, includes a highly detailed scale model of Chicago. The Chicago Architecture Foundation is located at 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604. For further information visit or call 312.922.3432 or become a Facebook fan: or follow on Twitter:

About Metropolitan Planning Council: 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. Become a fan of MPC on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter:  

Contact: Learn more about Placemaking – and read the complete “What Makes Your Place Great? Your Secret Corner of Chicagoland” contest rules and submission guidelines – at; or by contacting MPC Project Manager Karin Sommer, at 312-863-6044 or


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