Situated along a mile-long riverfront, the Fisk parcel also represents a seam between the Pilsen and Chinatown neighborhoods—two of the most dense and diverse communities in Chicago. Yet their connection to the water (and to each other) has been severed by legacy infrastructure: rail, utilities, pollution.
A site planning effort led by ParkFowler Plus set an intention to reconnect the site to the fabric of adjacent neighborhoods, restore access to water, and welcome arts and culture to the site. At the same time, the planning and urban design elevated values of environmental resilience. Together with IIT students and faculty, Park Fowler Plus envisioned a richly connected, culturally-informed approach. The plan extends desire paths from and across the surrounding community, creates porous edges that invite interaction, and incorporates amenities that support the community character.
In the same spirit, the plan adopted “additive placemaking” as a guiding value; it sought to create a public realm that, rather than competing with the character of adjacent neighborhoods, expanded and amplified existing community life. Thus, the plan incorporated spaces for artists, makers, and culture-bearers who may be vulnerable to displacement. The Fisk site plan was a foundational framework. Park Fowler Plus continues to work alongside community, governmental, and academic partners to advance the ideals it outlines.