Aug 24th 2020

College of Architecture Studio Imagines Former Chicago Railways as New Community Spaces

During the spring 2020 semester, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development partnered with the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology to launch its Living Tracks design studio investigating abandoned railway lines and adjacent land in Chicago’s Englewood and Kenwood neighborhoods as potential community spaces for those neighborhoods.

The studio brought together architecture and landscape architecture students from all degree programs at the college and represents the beginning of the DPD and college’s collaborations in the context of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West community improvement initiative. The studio also engaged students with community organizations and residents through workshops organized by the DPD.

From using native plantings to remediate soil in post-industrial sites to building recreational infrastructure on the former railways, the proposals from the College of Architecture students aim to provide new opportunities and spaces for neighborhood residents while acknowledging the historical, cultural, and economical nuances of the area.

All student proposals can now be viewed at the Living Tracks website, along with more information about the Englewood and Kenwood neighborhoods and the history of the former rail lines that served as the project sites.

Rendering for "Junction Grove" by Diamantina Sanchez (B.ARCH. 5th Year).