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Retooling Chicago - Harvard GSD 2010

Intermodal Stitching: Retooling Chicago -  Harvard University Graduate School of Design, May 2010

Cicero Avenue has an important trace of industrial activity along its borders, giving the area a distinctive character when compared with other districts of Chicago. But we cannot forget the people who live there that create the neighborhoods and transform it into a living space. Therefore, the project seeks to regenerate the whole site as an attractive area for both living and working.

Taking advantage of the good infrastructures and connectivity of the site (three main highways, airports, trains, and even a freight canal), the project’s starting points are the areas where these infrastructures cross Cicero Avenue and concentrate there the density and main services. As a result, several intermodal stations appear strategically located along Cicero Avenue as urban catalysts for the surrounding neighborhoods. These catalysts accommodate uses for both neighborhoods and industries: meeting rooms, community centers, hotel, station, childcare center, playing courts, restaurants etc., and also act as identity points and main gates for the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition, a green-and-pedestrian corridor connects these catalysts with each other and with the neighborhoods. In order to develop this corridor, the project takes into account the existing green areas (to build new bike paths), the most important existing bus stops (to create new plazas), the existing industrial sites (to provide a new high speed data infrastructure), and the existing green corridors (in order to connect the new corridor with the whole city).

As result, the project involves a series of strategies, both punctual (for the intermodal centers) and linear (for the green corridor), providing a framework for redevelopment and consolidation of the area, supply of services, accessibility, and identity.