“Transit Future” Wish List Tantalizes Chicago Commuters with $20 Billion in Improvements

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Here’s something to meditate on the next time you see three Chicago Transit Authority buses leapfrogging one another on a crowded street, or have to shell out for a cab because the trains won’t get you where you want to go on time: a grand proposal called “Transit Future” that seeks to improve the way Chicagoans get around the region.

Continue reading after the jump.

Planner Friends of Dorothy: Chicago Launches LGBT Urban Planning Social Group

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, April 7, 2014
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(Courtesy Moxie)

(Courtesy Moxie)

Chicago’s urban planning history is epic and, therefore, it’s no surprise that the city draws young folks fresh out of school with their MUPs, MPAs, and MPPs in droves (yours truly was one these eight years ago). However, Eavesdrop had no clue how many of them were gay until a couple weeks ago. A young buck, Daniel Ronan—fresh (meat) off the boat from Portland, Oregon—started an LGBT social group for planner and policy folks called Moxie. The inaugural meeting, which took place at Hubbard Inn, was well-attended, including not one, but two AN contributors and Dr. Curtis Winkle, the department head at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. And some hot guy from our gym whom Eavesdrop didn’t know was a planner—heyyy!

The next meetup takes place on Thursday, April 17 at the Vinyl Lounge Chicago. RSVP here.

Hooked on Fonts: Chicago Typographers Party Like They Just Don’t Kern

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Friday, April 4, 2014
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The typographic bunch. (Courtesy Typeforce 5)

The typographic bunch. (Courtesy Typeforce 5)

Apparently, Chicagoans are bonkers for typography. Jeff Sanchez, Graphic Design Manager for the International Interior Design Association, invited us to Typeforce 5, “the annual showcase of typographic all-stars.” Hosted by the Co-Prosperity Sphere down in Bridgeport, this was the most well attended opening we’ve been to in ages. Eavesdrop bumped into old AN pals, like local designer Michael Savona and Gravity Tank power players Robert Zolna and Moritsugu Kariya. Robert, Eavesdrop wouldn’t mind a new day job, so, if you hire us, rest-assured we’d never use Comic Sans or Chiller in communications with clients. Call us!

On View> The Graham Foundation presents “Chromatic Patterns” through April 5

Art, Interiors, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Chromatic Patterns
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, IL
Through April 5

Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns is a site-specific work that transforms the lower galleries of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House in Chicago. The house was designed by Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden and built in 1901–02. Judy Ledgerwood is a Chicago-based painter and educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. This exhibition surrounds the visitor in vibrant colors with a vibrant floral motif that almost mimics the house’s prairie style ornamentation. This installation examines the effect of paint on architecture, specifically the wall covering’s ability to produce new effects and feelings about a space. In this work, Ledgerwood uses ornamentation to change visitors’ perception of the ornamentation in the Madlener House’s lower galleries, highlighting the divergent ways that pattern, color, ornamentation, and surface have been coded, gendered, repressed, and embraced in art and architecture.

The Chicago Spire is One Big Ol’ Water-Logged Bucket Of Foreclosure

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.

Aqua Tower team dives back in for new Chicago project by Studio Gang

studio gang architects' aqua tower (joevare via flickr)

Detail of the rippling facade of Studio Gang Architects’ Aqua Tower. (joevare / Flickr)

With the real estate market drifting through a relative recovery, one prominent Chicago developer seems to be saying, “Come back in, the water’s fine.” The team behind Chicago’s Aqua Tower is gearing up for another high-rise nearby. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group hired Studio Gang Architects for another tower in the 28-acre master-planned neighborhood of Lakeshore East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

Chicago Spire developer moves to settle bankruptcy, revive project

Development, Midwest, News
Friday, February 7, 2014
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spire

Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project.

Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper.

Read More

Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

Chicago Launches Lighting Competition in Bid to Boost Tourism, Skeptics Concerned Over Pollution

Design, Lighting, Midwest
Monday, January 27, 2014
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(Courtesy City of Chicago)

(Courtesy City of Chicago)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been very vocal about his ambitions to increase tourism in the city, and he once again upped that goal to 55 million annual visitors by 2020—an almost 20 percent jump from current numbers.

Riding high on news of record hotel occupancy last year, Emanuel said Wednesday that Chicago would launch an international design contest to light up the city at night. As with previous initiatives, like the Downtown Riverwalk extension, the lighting design competition would highlight the Chicago River.

Continue reading after the jump.

Senators, Congresswoman Back National Park Status for Chicago’s Pullman Neighborhood

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN’S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly today announced their intention to introduce legislation that would make the Pullman Historic District Chicago’s first national park.

Since last year, a movement to designate the South Side Pullman neighborhood a national park has gained momentum. Its historic building stock—full of Romanesque and Victorian Queen Anne style buildings by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett — was lauded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Continue reading after the jump.

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