About PPS and MPC
When Project for Public Spaces (PPS) first started working with communities on their public spaces, it quickly became apparent no one knew more about a place and how it functioned than the people who lived and worked there. However, PPS also found planners and officials rarely asked people about the issues they had direct experience with, such as whether it was difficult or unsafe for them or their children to cross a street. Instead, the public was asked to provide feedback on proposed designs after the fact. Realizing this, PPS decided to develop a different process—one that is bottom up versus top down—which we call Placemaking. PPS has since found a Placemaking process is more economical, more efficient, and more fun for both people in communities and local officials. It also results in visible changes and has a far greater impact on the community.
Placemaking allows communities to see how their insight and knowledge fits into the broader process of making change. It allows them to become proactive versus reactive, and positive versus negative. Simply put, Placemaking allows regular people to make extraordinary improvements, both big and small, in their communities.
In order to begin to transform the process of creating places and building stronger communities in Chicago, PPS has embarked on a partnership with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC). This allows PPS and MPC to highlight many of the important civic actions already underway in Chicago, and provides a framework for further improvements to the city's public spaces. A Guide to Neighborhood Placemaking in Chicago and this Web site are the first product of this partnership. We hope the ideas and examples of Chicago Placemaking described in the following guide will inspire a ripple effect of neighbor interaction, community commitment, and civic action.