City Design Center Overview
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Community Design Excellence


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Community Services

Community Planning

Urban Business Districts NEW!


How can older urban commercial and industrial areas compete with the lure of suburban shopping malls and industrial parks? How can inner-city, low-income communities, typically under-served by commercial businesses, attract new commerce? Without viable industry and commerce, residents cannot find needed goods and services close to home, and the community as a whole loses valuable jobs. Many older urban communities in Chicago remain important sources of economic activity, both for the community and for the city as a whole. They enjoy important advantages, including a strong core of existing businesses, a large local labor force, and expansion possibilities in unused or under-used parcels, all necessary for industrial redevelopment. Pent-up consumer demand, strong local entrepreneurs, stately historic commercial buildings, and unique ethnic character also support commercial revitalization.

To some extent, the competitive position of urban commercial and industrial areas depends on wider economic conditions. However, effective design interventions that improve circulation, demonstrate viability of smaller industrial parcels, provide low-cost, incremental improvements to existing structures, and create a sense of community can all play an important role in the successful regeneration of an area. Working with community organizations, faculty and students at the City Design Center have created innovative strategies for developing challenging sites, integrating mixed uses, and creating local identities to market commercial and industrial districts.


CANDO Anniversary Design Showcase

Catering Company Feasibility Study

Lake/Kedzie Industrial Corridor Redevelopment Design

Brownfield Redevelopment Sites

The Greening of Cermak Road: Pilsen's Industrial Corridor Streetscape Improvements

Marking Industrial Revitalization: The Pilsen Industrial Corridor Gateway Design

Supporting Industrial Development: Prototypic Industrial Building Designs

A Cooperative Marketplace: Collaborative Design of the SASNC Retail Center

A New Image for 18th Street: Facade and Streetscape Improvements for Pilsen’s Commercial Corridor

Revitalizing Commerce in Pilsen: Commercial Redevelopment Feasilibity Study

Accomodating Commercial Needs: Design Proposals for New Commercial Centers for the Near West Side

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