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.