Chicago nonprofits announce clean air design challenge - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Chicago nonprofits announce clean air design challenge

This season, design is in the air – literally. 

The nonprofit, volunteer-run initiative Design Makes Change and the nonprofit organization Unit 2 Collective have launched The Air We Breathe: The Chicago Clean Air Design Challenge. Students and professionals in the fields of industrial, graphic and public space design and architecture are invited to submit their solutions to the local air quality concerns caused by two coal-powered plants – the Fisk and Crawford plants – in Little Village and Pilsen.

One of the main objectives of the The Air We Breathe is to encourage community partnership in the design process — a goal MPC can get behind, as we fully support community-driven planning solutions through programs such as our Community Building Initiative, Corridor Development Initiative and Placemaking Chicago

As Ian Viteri of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization stated, “It is time for Chicago to incorporate crucial, local issues into the design process. Even though we claim to be one of the greenest cities around, we are still plagued with a plethora of health issues due to our air quality. This challenge gives people a chance to take an initiative and create positive change through design.” 

The Air We Breathe is open for submissions from Jan. 5 through April 18, 2011. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three outstanding submissions, beginning with a grand prize of $2,000. The jury panel will be composed of a multi-disciplinary group of professionals and educators from the fields of design, environmental policy, community development, and medicine. In May or June the best 20-plus selections will go on exhibit at a gallery in the Chicago Arts District. A symposium/panel discussion will follow the opening.

Learn more about The Air We Breathe and find out how to enter the competition at; or contact Siobhan Gregory at 


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