Welcome to “Bridging the Distance,” a People’s Spot for Albany Park: a place where people from the neighborhood can meet a neighbor or hang out and relax.

A “People Spot” is a social space for people to gather and interact. People Spots take over street parking spaces on commercial streets in Chicago neighborhoods. They are permitted through the Chicago Department of Transportation “Make Way For People” program, and are design to last several years. People Spots are free and open to anyone, but are typically located in areas with lots of shops as an amenity for pedestrians. Chicago’s People Spot “season” is May 1 to November 30.

Albany Park’s People Spot has been designed, planned, and engineered for permit by teenagers in Territory’s design team programs. Our urban design team started with concept development in summer 2016. Our Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 teams handled community engagement, schematic design and design development. Our Summer 2017 design-build interns did construction drawings for permit. The people spot is constructed out of simple materials: wood decking, paint, stain, chain link fence posts and fence hardware. The design is modular so that it can be easily assembled, moved and reconfigured by young people, and fit to different sites in our neighborhood.

After three pop-up community engagement events, the team focused their design on the concepts of play, hanging with friends, meeting a stranger, and chilling. We want the people spot to be a place where neighbors can meet, young people can relax, and where our design teams can host special events for young people and their families.

In September 2017 over fifteen volunteers helped us cut, drill, stain and paint all the people spot modules. In December 2018 we assembled the whole people spot indoors for the first time, using a timer to help us create a quality assurance plan for our debut installation. In 2018 we will host a grand community work day to install the People Spot on site in Albany Park. Everyone is invited to help us assemble the seating area pictured below, which will occupy two on-street diagonal parking spaces. Once installed, the people spot will be available for social activities and events from May to November 2018.

Funding for the project came from the 33rd Ward through the City of Chicago Year of Public Art 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Program. Our people spot is permitted through the City of Chicago Department of Transportation’s Make Way For People Program, with essential support for project installation and management from the North River Commission in Albany Park. Our architecture and engineering partners include CannonDesign Open Hand Studio, Canopy a + d, and Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC. Community programming is supported by a Collaborative Action Grant from Enterprise Community Partners.

Stay tuned for the official People Spot Barn-Raising in Spring 2018!