Metropolitan Planning Council's "Space in Between"

Metropolitan Planning Council's "Space in Between"

Once upon a time, the market crashed. Remember 2008?

Not ringing a bell, just look around Chicago: Vacant storefronts, boarded-up buildings, and empty lots littered with trash bags and beer cans should have—would have—could have been thriving shops, homes or community parks. Instead, they are the lingering villains of the recession.

But for every villain, there is a hero counterpart: Through the “Space in Between” contest, the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is seeking to honor individuals and groups in the greater Metropolitan Chicago region who have taken it upon themselves to transform vacant spaces into community places, through Placemaking.

Placemaking is a community-based approach to planning, designing and managing great public places. Now through Aug. 31, the “Space in Between” contest is seeking submissions from people who temporarily turned a place that was forgotten, ignored, vacant, transitional, blighted, or misused into a community asset.

Anyone age 16 or older in the greater Chicago metropolitan region who has led or participated in a creative reuse of vacant space since the market crash in 2008 may submit one entry. Metropolitan Chicago includes the City of Chicago and Chicago suburbs located in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in Illinois; or in Lake, La Porte and Porter counties in Indiana; or in Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties in Wisconsin.

The contest submission period will run from Wednesday, June 27, to Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

Each entry should include:

  • Original photos or videos documenting a contestant’s creative temporary use of public space in metropolitan Chicago since 2008; and
  • A 250-word-or-less description of how this temporary project or use turned a place that was forgotten, ignored, vacant, transitional, blighted, or misused into a community asset.

Contestants will find a complete list of submission guidelines and instructions at

Four winners will be selected: two by Placemaking Chicago’s Review Panel, and two by public votes online at between Sept. 10 and Oct. 5, 2012. Winners will receive cash prizes and the chance to tell the story of their favorite temporary use of a public place at an awards ceremony on Nov. 1, 2012.

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