C40 Reinventing Cities Competition
Updated Feb. 26, 2021
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 more than 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, well-being 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.
The winning team from the 2019 Reinventing Cities competition is working on securing financing for their proposed development, located in East Garfield Park. City planning staff also released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for another site in The Loop as a part of the 2020 Reinventing Cities competition.
Plymouth Court and Van Buren Street
The site is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, immediately adjacent to Pritzker Park and across the street from the Harold Washington Library Center, the main branch of the Chicago Public Library system. The site consists of several vacant, City-owned parcels and a vacant four-level parking garage. The approximately 16,000-square-foot site is one of the best in the city in terms of access to transit, with immediate connections to almost every CTA train line, including the Red, Blue, Orange, Brown, Green, Pink and Purple lines, as well as multiple bus lines along the historic State Street retail corridor.
There are several higher education institutions in close proximity to this site including the UIC John Marshall Law School, DePaul University, Columbia College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roosevelt University and Robert Morris University. Directly west of the site is the landmarked Fisher Building for rental housing and the landmarked Old Colony Building for student housing.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and Ald. Sophia King (4th) co-hosted a community meeting to provide information and offered an online survey to solicit public feedback.
The competition will occur in two phases, an Expression of Interest phase and then an RFP phase with selected finalists. Five teams of finalists were selected in September 2020 through the Expression of Interest phase, and have been invited to submit to the RFP. The RFP and related documents are now available on the C40 website.
5th Avenue and Kedzie Avenue
Team representative: Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
The winning proposal, Garfield Green, is a two-phase development that includes 77 rental units, 9,000 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of public open space and a 12,000-square-foot public plaza. Thirty-two of the units would be made available at affordable rates, 31 as cooperative housing units and 14 at market rates.
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.
The buildings’ sustainable amenities will include modular construction materials fabricated in Little Village; all of its energy needs will be supplied by solar panels; and a majority of its green roof will grow food and mitigate stormwater. Commercial tenants are expected to include a clinic to address an increase in asthma rates related to climate change. Total costs are tentatively estimated at $22.3 million.