We transformed an empty lot into a bright and welcoming public open space in the Austin neighborhood.
ARC, a Chicago Architectural Biennial initiative, is a network of local designers, city planners, and community organizers committed to making Chicago safe, healthy, and economically resilient for all. ARC was formed in the summer of 2020, during the height of the pandemic and after the civil unrest, to help communities on the city’s south and west sides re-open during challenging times.
POPCourts!, ARC’s second project, was developed in concert with Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative. The goal in Austin was to create a sense of place and identity for a community with limited access to public open spaces. The team transformed a vacant lot at the corner of W. Chicago and N. Lockwood Avenues into a place for activity, gathering, and commerce.
The project includes three zones, “Courts,” each serving various community functions, with the programming meant to be flexible, allowing activities to “Pop” up and transform over time.