New Placemaking Award from the Metropolitan Planning Council

Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place.

In order to advance the principles of Placemaking in the Chicagoland area, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is offering a special IBM-sponsored prize of at least $2,500 in cash and prizes for the best Placemaking app or apps in the Apps for Metro Chicago (A4MC) competition. More details to follow.

In order to be considered for the Placemaking app contest, developers must

  • Check the box marked ‘Consider this app for the MPC Placemaking award’ when submitting
  • Create an app that helps users to find, create, sustain and/or share vibrant public places in metropolitan Chicago.
  • Clearly demonstrate that their app helps people tap into the 11 principles of Placemaking   

Placemaking apps must

  • Comply with all A4MC requirements
  • Use data to spread the knowledge of and use of public spaces in metropolitan Chicago. Examples:
  • In a concept similar to Walk Score, you could evaluate public spaces using criteria from the Project for Public Spaces’ Place Diagram to demonstrate in real time the state of a given place.
  • You could pull up a Google map on your mobile phone that pinpoints your location and tells you about family-friendly activities taking place nearby that day.
  • Use social media to congregate using an app that functions like FourSquare, but using data focused on public spaces.
  • Sign up to be notified and at a moment's notice pack up and descend en masse upon an assigned public space with a picnic and/or musical instruments, etc., a la Paris and now New York’s Dinner in White.
  • Use an app to organize neighborhood gatherings in your local park.
  • Use an app to identify nearby NeighborSpace locations as you organize garden clubs, or vacant lot ownership to establish community vegetable gardens.

We anticipate that top apps will utilize some of the following data:

  • Malls and Plazas
  • Habitats
  • Boulevards
  • Riverwalk
  • Neighbor Space Gardens
  • Campus Parks

This data can be found at

The winning Placemaking app developer will receive:

  1. $2,500 cash prize sponsored by IBM.  MPC will coordinate payment with the prize winner
  2. Constant publicity by way of the app’s prominent placement on our Placemaking Chicago website,, which has 600+ monthly visitors, as well as MPC’s Placemaking page which receives 6,000+ monthly visitors seeking new and inventive ways to build community through public space. MPC will promote the web site, app and developer via Facebook (1200+ followers) and Twitter (700+ followers), media outreach, e-mail, and public announcements at events.

For more information, contact:

Marisa Novara
[email protected]