City Activates Two New People Plazas And Cuts Ribbon For First Boombox, An Innovative Micro Retail Kiosk

September 25, 2015

Activate! Chicago Builds on CDOT’s Make Way for People Program to Highlight Communities’ Strengths; Goal is to Create Vibrant Public Spaces, Promote Economic Vitality

Mike Claffey    312.744.0707

City of Chicago First Lady Amy Rule today joined the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and local community stakeholders at an Activate! Chicago event to cut the ribbon for the City’s first Boombox, a prefabricated micro retail kiosk installed at Mautene Court at 1260 N. Milwaukee. The Boombox installation is part of the City’s People Plaza program, which is designed to create public spaces in plazas, malls and traffic triangles across Chicago.  The event also included the activation of a nearby plaza, the Polish Triangle at Ashland and Milwaukee, through a performance by the Joffrey Ballet.

“I am very excited to participate in Activate! Chicago and the launch of the first Boombox created under the People Plaza program,” First Lady Rule said. “It’s inspiring to see the community coming together to realize the untapped potential from this type of under-utilized public space.” 

“CDOT is looking forward to rolling out the People Plaza program across Chicago,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The goals of the program are to support efforts by local stakeholders to activate and enliven public spaces, to enhance quality of life and to nurture economic development at the neighborhood level.”

The Activate! Chicago events were coordinated with local Aldermen – Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) for Mautene Court and Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) for the Polish Triangle – as well as the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.

The Boombox at Mautene Court serves as a prototype for future temporary retail and cultural spaces in People Plazas across the City in the next several years. A Boombox is a prefabricated micro retail kiosk that combines the successful features of pop-up shops and festival booths. It provides an innovative transitional retail space at an affordable cost for budding local entrepreneurs.

Activate! Chicago events are held on the final Friday of the month. In August, Activate! Chicago events were held at the first two locations in the City, at Jackson and Homan on the West Side and at Englewood Plaza on 63rd St. in Englewood.

The People Plaza Program is a public-private partnership between the City and Latent Design Corporation, which was selected through a competitive RFP process and is responsible for the management and implementation of the program.   The program is being rolled out citywide over the next three years and plazas will be activated in ten locations this year with additional locations added over the next two years. 

The citywide effort grows out of CDOT’s Make Way for People Program which employs the urban planning strategy of “placemaking” to support innovative uses of the public way in the city’s streets, parking places, alleys and other public spaces in order to create hubs for community activity.

The goal is to improve street safety, promote walking and support the quality of life and economic vitality of all of the city’s neighborhoods.  The program is run by CDOT in partnership with the Department of Finance and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.


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