C40 Reinventing Cities Competition

Updated Sept. 24, 2018

Chicago Climate Summit

C40 is a global network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities – representing over 650 million people and one quarter of the world’s economy – collaborate to share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. C40 focuses on tackling climate change by driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.

C40’s Reinventing Cities Initiative is an unprecedented global competition intended to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration. Through this competition, C40 invites developers, entrepreneurs, architects, urban planners, designers, environmentalists, neighborhood collectives, innovators and artists to collaborate and compete for the opportunity to transform select underutilized urban spaces into new beacons of sustainability and resiliency.

As part of the Climate Summit hosted by Chicago on Dec. 4-5, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago is offering two sites for the C40 Reinventing Cities competition. One site is in McKinley Park along Pershing Road and the other is in East Garfield Park.

After an RFQ process, the City created a shortlist of potential development teams and announced it in September 2018. The teams are listed below. Final submissions are expected in early 2019, with a selection made in spring 2019. Further details on the competition can be found at www.c40reinventingcities.org.

Pershing Road Buildings, Chicago

1717-1819 W. Pershing Road

Civic Solutions
Team representative: Washington Park Development Group, BLDWORKS LLC
Architects: Clément Blanchet Architecture, Civic Projects Architecture LLC, No Architecture, Site Design Group
Environmental experts: Eco Achievers

Team Pershing
Team representative: Urban Intersection Partners, The Street Society
Architect: JLK Architects, ARUP
Environmental experts: ARUP

The Pershing Road site contains two historic six-story buildings, designed by architect Samuel Scott Joy and built in 1918, and a 160,000 square foot parcel with a parking lot and a one-story parking garage. The two industrial buildings, each over 570,000 square feet in size, are located within the historic Central Manufacturing District (“CMD”). The CMD, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, was one of the country‘s first planned industrial districts. The CMD was home to over 200 manufacturers, including such industrial giants as Wrigley, Spiegel, Westinghouse, and Goodyear.

The site is located within the McKinley Park neighborhood, so named for the 69-acre McKinley Park which has a lagoon, a swimming pool, and an ice-skating rink. This neighborhood has a large, working-class population, with residential areas north of the site and industrial areas continuing south of the site.

The City of Chicago expects the winning proposal of the Reinventing Cities competition to add vibrancy to Chicago‘s southwest communities, particularly the McKinley Park neighborhood. While the City’s preference is for redevelopment of the entire site, bidders may also propose to reactivate only one or both of the historic six-story buildings. Proposals should enhance opportunities for Chicago‘s workforce and for nearby residential communities. The project should aspire to be carbon-neutral, while increasing the site‘s resilience to water events. The overall design of the project should relate positively to the site’s context, provide publicly accessible spaces, and engage visual interest from the street. More information about the competition and this site are available at this link.

East Garfield Park, Chicago

5th Avenue and Kedzie Avenue

Garfield Green
Team representative: Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
Architects: Perkins+Will, NIA Architects
Environmental expert: Terra Engineering

5th & Kedzie Collaborative
Team representative: Heartland Housing
Architects: Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Site Design Group
Environmental expert: Guttman & Blaevoet

Kedzie Terminal
Team representative: Evergreen Real Estate Group
Architect: John Ronan Architects
Environmental expert: Transsolar

This site involves two sets of contiguous vacant lots located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Kedzie Avenue in the East Garfield Park area, which is located west of downtown Chicago. This community is well-served by transit and is in an area where the City is developing programs to reinvest in the neighborhood.

This historic west-side neighborhood is named for the 185-acre Garfield Park that is located just a few blocks from the subject site. It is a 130-year-old community with landmarks like the Golden Dome fieldhouse, the Garfield Park Conservatory, beautiful Greystone homes and a mosaic-clad elevated station on the CTA Green Line. Originally built to house factory workers this neighborhood grew to a peak of 70,000 people in 1950. Today, with fewer factory jobs and thousands of housing units lost over the years, the population has dropped to 20,567 and includes nearly 170 vacant, city-owned lots.

In this context, the city has recently developed several projects and programs in order to improve the marketability of this targeted area of East Garfield. In particular, the City‘s highly successful Large Lot Program and a new community orchard/stormwater park project have been launched to improve the neighboorhood by creating new areas for recreation, urban gardening and stormwater treatments that divert stormwater from the City‘s overburdened combined sewer system.

While the City’s preference is for redevelopment of both corner lots for this site, bidders may also propose to reactivate only one of the corner lots. Bidders will be encouraged to suggest a typology of multi-family housing that will compliment these exciting projects and programs and become a model for sustainable and resilient redevelopment of disinvested neighborhoods. More information about the competition and this site are available at this link.

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