Improving on the (Woodard) plaza proposal

May 6, 2011

I attended the Public meeting March 8 regarding another public plaza proposal, this one at the triangle north of the Milwaukee-Kimball-Diversey intersection.  The meeting was reasonably well-attended, mostly by neighbors in the immediate vicinity, including representatives from the Crown Tap Room and the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Community Arts Center, two businesses that will be greatly impacted by whatever happens here.

With essentially the input of those two stakeholders and under the division of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) tasked with this project–the Streetscape and Sustainable Design Program–CDOT set forth the use case for the community: 

Design goals and process

  1. Create an active, urban public space.
  2. Create a destination, frequented by all ages and lifestyles.
  3. Integrate environmental initiatives by infiltrating storm water that falls on site.
  4. Create a space for possible sustainable street innovations such as bike parking or WIFI.
  5. Create places for art integration.
  6. Coordinate improvements with the Hairpin Loft Building and Logan Square Community Arts Center. Read the rest of this entry »
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Celebrating Hairpin Lofts!

May 20, 2010

Let’s put the Sachs/Payless moniker to rest and get used to Hairpin Lofts rolling off the tongue.

Tuesday was a day of celebration for the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Arts Center, the official “groundbreaking” for the project.

Of course there’s no real ground to break on a rehabilitation project.
Preliminary construction has already been underway.  You’ve probably noticed the scaffolding is up and parts of the sidewalk are closed (photo right) to allow for the ongoing construction of the project, slated for completion in about one year’s time.

But Tuesday was the ceremonial start and an opportunity for City of Chicago officials, the development and finance teams, the local arts (photo below) and preservation communities, and neighbors to officially welcome the long-awaited project. Read the rest of this entry »


Vision Driving Development report

April 22, 2010

Vision Driving Development:  Logan Square Corridor Development Initiative is now available.  This report is the culmination of last summer’s workshops led by the Metropolitan Planning Council with Logan Square neighbors considering future development along Milwaukee Avenue.

I wrote about some of the issues back then (see Hypothetical Milwaukee Avenue development:  Scenario 1, Scenario 2, Scenario 3,
Scenario 4, Open space and Milwaukee Avenue, Height and Milwaukee Avenue, and Parking and Milwaukee Avenue), and this report expands on the process and the variety of hypothetical development scenarios that were imagined.

Read the rest of this entry »


Gifts make the neighborhood

March 18, 2010

“Gifts Make the Tribe”

That’s a subtitle from the chapter, “The Powerful Culture of Gifts,” in Seth Godin’s Linchpin:  Are You Indispensable?, the book I’m currently reading. 

And by gift, he means art as he defines it:

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.

An artist is an individual who creates art.  The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.

In the chapter mentioned, he explains the benefit of usury laws (stay with me; there’s a point):

If I give you some money to buy seeds, your farm flourishes, and now we both have money to give to someone else to invest.  The faster the money circulates, the better the tribe does.

One reason that art has so much power is that it represents Read the rest of this entry »


Update on height and Milwaukee Avenue

November 24, 2009

Even as I wrote in Height and Milwaukee Avenue (Part I) (now updated),  that “it took several sessions just to get the question right so that it adequately reflected the sentiments of participants concerning height,” the responses didn’t seem quite right, but I brushed off the feeling.

After recently reviewing the sessions once again though, I noticed that I had not shared the final iteration of the responses, but the one prior to the response options having been ultimately revised.  Below is the final and more nuanced breakdown of desired height:

What average height do you envision for new buildings along Milwaukee Avenue?

Read the rest of this entry »


Parking and Milwaukee Avenue

October 17, 2009

How participants in the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor Development Initiative workshops responded to a question about parking also surprised organizers of the workshops (in a good way) (also see Height and Milwaukee Avenue [Part I]), and a few participants as well (in a not so good way).

How do you feel about parking on Milwaukee Avenue?

CDI parking question

Sixty-six percent of workshop participants felt that there is sufficient or too much parking on Milwaukee Avenue, and only 34% felt that more parking is needed.

I think workshop participants got this answer right, and the response is consistent with the results of the polls I posted at Do we need more parking? (click on image below for better legibility). Read the rest of this entry »


Height and Milwaukee Avenue (Part II)

October 7, 2009

I think the preference expressed at the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor Development Initiative workshops for three- to four-story new buildings reflects a respect for the existing buildings and the existing character of the Milwaukee Avenue corridor.

New and old, side by side

As I previously mentioned (see What the real estate experts may not know), one of the sites chosen for constructing a hypothetical development during the workshops, was the Pay Half building at the northwest corner of Spaulding and Milwaukee Avenues.  This site is located just south of the Milwaukee-Diversey-Kimball Landmark District buildings.

So, what if a new building were to be constructed next to these historic buildings?

Scenario 1 marked up B

Hypothetical Milwaukee Avenue Development:
Scenario 1 (in context)

Read the rest of this entry »