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Activate Pilsen

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Chicago, IL, United States

The Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago can be distinguished in part by its long-standing community of working-class immigrants. Since the 1970’s Pilsen has been predominantly inhabited by an expanding Latino population. The streetscape visibly depicts the vibrant culture which is evident from the commercial boulevards to the residential streets. This cultural heritage has been a powerful factor for residents as a means to take pride, ownership, and an active role in the preservation of their neighborhood. 

This ethnic identity gives Pilsen a uniqueness and local excitement, serving as a catalyst for growth and development, driving an influx of businesses, students, and artist to the area. However, Pilsen, like much of Chicago is plagued by vacant lots and buildings, tearing holes in a dense and active urban fabric. It is how we address this condition that is at the heart of this design intervention. The population of Pilsen is defined by community, culture, and recreation. Or more specifically by food, art, and play; and it is these programs that are imperative to activate the interstitial or vacant space throughout the neighborhood. Our activation celebrates what unites us in Pilsen: food, art, & play. 

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