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Loop Placemaking Initiative announced at Chicago Loop Alliance’s 2014 Annual Meeting

Chicago Loop Alliance announced today at its 2014 Annual Meeting the Loop Placemaking Initiative—an expansive series of innovative public space activations throughout the Loop that continue the organization’s commitment to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences in downtown Chicago. Over 150 underutilized public locations have been identified as placemaking opportunities-in-waiting for possible activation.

CLA plans to undertake a variety of Loop Placemaking Initiative programming, including a long-term activation of Pritzker Park through art, design and seating; amplification of CLA’s successful Pop-Up Art Loop program with monthly alley events; reopening of The Gateway to the Loop, a public plaza on State Street; new People Spots under the city’s Make Way for People program; and rotating tables and chairs that pop up throughout the Loop complete with flowers, music and art.

“Our placemaking experiments last year, The Gateway on State Street and ACTIVATE event in Couch Place alley, were hugely successful. ACTIVATE brought more than two thousand people to the alley in one night, enlivening the surrounding area of the Loop,” said CLA Executive Director Michael Edwards. “By continuing our exploration of placemaking opportunities in underutilized spaces such as Pritzker Park, we’re taking advantage of the rich urban environment that already exists and creating a new gateway into all the Loop already has to offer.”

The 2014 Annual Meeting began with opening remarks from Edwards highlighting the organization’s initial progress on its inaugural five-year Strategic Action Plan, with projects in key program areas of Beautification & Enhanced Services, Planning & Advocacy, Placemaking & Management, and Economic Development. A full copy of CLA’s 2013 Annual Report highlighting this progress is available online.

Loop Placemaking Initiative programming for 2014 includes:

Activation of Pritzker Park

Situated across the street from Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, Pritzker Park presents an opportunity to draw people into the Loop from the south, in a similar vein to The Gateway at the north end of State Street. This extensive, long-term activation will use art, design, lighting and new seating areas to create a vibrant public plaza.

Amplification of Pop-Up Art Loop with monthly alley events May-October

Since 2009, Pop-Up Art Loop has successfully transformed vacant storefronts and retail locations into temporary art galleries open to the public. This year the program will be amplified by one-night-only alley events in conjunction with the monthly opening of new pop-up spaces throughout the Loop. Couch Place, the Iwan Ries alley (off Wabash) and the CityTarget alley are prospective sites for this exciting and experimental series May through October.

Reopening of The Gateway to the Loop

Located on the State Street median between Wacker Drive and Lake Street, The Gateway to the Loop will reopen in May, providing a vibrant public plaza with seating for up to 50 people. Highly visible and well attended in 2013, CLA will increase programming activities at The Gateway this year to include roving street musicians and more.

People Spots under the city’s Make Way for People program

Two parking spaces at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Adams streets will be transformed as People Spots under the city’s Make Way for People program. Offering approximately 300 square feet of space, preliminary designs include a raised deck, plantings, and fixed and moveable tables and chairs. The space integrates with the adjacent two-way bike lane and nearby Divvy bike share station.

Rotating tables and chairs throughout the Loop

Rotating tables and chairs will appear unexpectedly throughout the Loop, providing a degree of spontaneity increasing human interaction. CLA will engage the public to participate in selecting sites through social media.


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