The Future of Social and Green Infrastructure

Building Communal Connections with an Integrated Architectural Approach 

AIA Upjohn Grant Initiative Award winning project led by Hyesun Jeong Collaborators: Brian Hammersley (Hammersley Architecture) and Matthew Ables (ARUP)

This research-design project, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects’ national Upjohn Initiative Program, enacts the idea of adaptive reuse as sustainable place-making, incorporating small-scale architectural interventions that promote walking and cycling, and serve to foster social cohesion in urban communities.

Chicago, in particular, has struggled to support the development of its south and west sides for over a generation.  Areas in the city with significant numbers of vacant lots struggle with higher crime rates and fewer food options than areas with more robust utilization. Using Chicago’s Humboldt Park (a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood) as a site, we propose a series of prototypes of public space converted from neglected urban spaces that will enhance cultural use of the existing parks and boulevards on foot and bicycle. These connected spaces will accommodate arts and cultural programs, social gathering, sports activities, and ecological urban landscape in response to proximate infrastructure, such as transit stations, parks, buildings, and bridges. 

The ultimate goal of our project goes beyond Humboldt Park.  Architecture and design have typically been too limited in scope to have the large-scale benefits that we would all like to see.  An individual building can have a positive effect, but communities rarely revolve around one building.  Instead, we propose that architects, city planners, politicians, and artists consider how structures relate to each other rather than how one building may or may not have an effect.  Thus, we are proposing a process more than a single blueprint, a more sustainable integrated web rather than a stand-alone building blueprint.