We believe public space can be a catalyst for community connectivity, local entrepreneurship and civic innovation.  


Latent Design was successfully selected by the City as a result of a public competitive bid process, in response to the “Make Way for People Request for Proposals (RFP)” from August 2013. We enthusiastically answered the original RFP because we are deeply devoted to and experienced in community-engaged placemaking. Chicago is our home too.

 Read the complete RFP here.

Latent Design is responsible for activating 10 sites per year for 3 years, for a total of 30 “People Plazas” by mid-2018. We will have to generate enough revenue through the program to maintain the plaza site year round as city services decrease, provide compensation to artists and performers, support the activities of community groups, pay for plaza site improvements when needed, and pay our management and design team. We believe several of these sites have enough foot traffic to host a “temporary vendor structure,” a kind of pop-up vendor kiosk which we call a Boombox. We would like these to become entrepreneurial incubators that bridge the gap from "startup to storefront". Plaza revenue generation will be primarily sponsor-focused, rather than typical advertising, to make places for people not agencies. “ACTIVATE! Chicago” refers to this entire program.

We are committed to making this process as transparent and community engaged as possible. Please feel free to read our contract with the City, publicly accessible through the Office of the City Clerk.

Read the complete contract here.

How might we create a new urban design system?

The principals of public space begin with numerous underlying ideas, the first of which is the community is the expert. 


Latent Design specializes in ideation, strategy, and execution of scalable and highly experiential architecture and urban design. Our participatory approach to design creates new social impact systems by leveraging creative disruption in our urban environments. 

Our team has been leading Chicago’s creative placemaking initiatives for over five years and setting a national example of award winning installations through place based, human centered, grassroots design and development work with, by and for communities.


Volunteer Opportunities

Project success and the future of a public space program in Chicago is dependent on creating a sustainable revenue stream on the sites from sponsorship, advertising and donations. Latent Design is not paid by the city for the project. Course and NCARB IDP credit are possible. Please inquire.


Working with the Latent Design team, volunteers and community partners in a support capacity to design temporary interventions on designated public space sites. 10-15 hours per week until December 2015


  • Participate in the design, development and implementation of placemaking initiatives, including customized programs and designs
  • On site research, observation and interviews
  • Presenting to community groups and local stakeholders
  • Interface and work with internal creative team


Working with the Latent Design team and volunteers in a support capacity to design and develop a variety of communication elements from infographics, website, flyers, event themes and research around public space and placemaking.  10-15 hours per week until December 2015


  • Maintain and advance existing online social media channels and organization website(s)
  • Continue development and refinement of branding best practices
  • Draft press releases and work with media contacts
  • Collaborate on creating graphics and writing text for projects, grants and award submissions
  • Drive the creation of original content for website,social media and community events
  • Plan and implement informational activities (talks, panels, exhibits, and workshops)


Working with the Latent Design team and volunteers in a support capacity to contact and acquire corporate sponsorship for the program.  10-15 hours per week until December 2015


  • Participate in the development and implementation of sponsorship initiatives, including customized programs/promotions
  • Support the sponsorship measurement and return on investment process
  • Support client-vendor relationships and coordinate necessary activation deliverables
  • Assist with the creation and implementation of materials to support sponsorship initiatives.
  • Interface and work with internal creative team


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