Placemaking Chicago - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Placemaking Chicago

Helping people improve communities, one place at a time

BCO GreenSpace Chicago

Vibrant public places have numerous community benefits. Through policy advocacy and on-the-ground demonstration projects, MPC weaves "placemaking"—the transformation of underused spaces into community gathering places—into many aspects of our work.


Cities around the world are recognizing that safe, well-used public spaces are just as important building blocks for healthy communities as quality housing and reliable transportation. To remain a globally competitive region, Chicagoland must continue to sustain and enhance all of its public areas.

Why? Studies over the past several years increasingly demonstrate that vibrant public places pay economic dividends for their neighborhoods and, collectively, their region. Notably, the Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community study found that 43,000 people from 26 U.S. communities named "social offerings" as the top factor creating attachment to a place—and demonstrated a positive correlation between people's attachment to their community and the community's growth of Gross Domestic Product.


Learn how Chicago's People Spots are great for neighborhoods and businesses

Through Placemaking Chicago, MPC supports the creation and care of vibrant public spaces across Chicagoland, through policy advocacy, close collaboration with public agencies and elected officials, direct assistance to residents and community organizations, and an active social media and online presence. 

MPC’s Placemaking work is integrated into many of our initiatives, including our work to: 


Spark economic and community development: Improvements to public areas can catalyze private investment and small-scale entrepreneurial activities. 

Build bridges: Well-planned public spaces draw an ethnically, culturally and socially diverse population and encourage people to take pride in their community.

Improve the environment: Quality public spaces often add green elements to communities or encourage people to drive less by giving them walkable destinations.

Improve public health: Quality public areas give people a place to exercise, play and relax. 

Strengthen community identity: Places nurture and define community identity by organizing residents around a shared goal, perpetuating integrity and values, and creating a common vision.

Encourage democracy: Public spaces give diverse groups the chance to work collaboratively in a democratic process.

Benefit tax payers: Engagement and cooperation between officials and the public leads to more effective use of resources.

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Chicago Dept. of Transportation
Chicago Loop Alliance
Project for Public Spaces, New York, N.Y.


Recent studies show Placemaking has a host of tangible benefits:

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Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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