Wicker Park is home to a new hub which houses a community- led, urban decision making process. This building is powered by Chicago’s windy conditions, which redirects and amplifies the movement of air within the space to capture speech, display discussion and encourage Chicagoens to vote on everyday urban issues affecting their neighbourhood.
This project aims to encourage Chicagoens to take more initiative in making decisions about the development of their neighbourhood and to find a way to spatialise ways of disseminating information in real time and prioritises the use of analogue rather than digital means to talk about issues of transparency, engagement and participation.
The project builds on the current system of Participatory Budgeting (PB), an intiative that asks the community how they want to spend $1 million of public funds on infrastructure in their neighbourhood. As such, the building is integrated and located upon the Chicago 606 – a recent piece of public infrastructure-turned-elevated public park.
The ceiling of the main lobby space inflates to show that it is in use, demonstrating that its physical form is a direct outcome of decision making and voting. The building acts as a billboard for by displaying the most popular snippets of ideas to passing pedestrians or cars beneath.
Conversation collectors hover above dining spaces to pick up common themes and voting takes place not in closed off electronic booths, but alongside the path of the cycling trail through the use of pneumatic tubes. Each vote becomes a ball which runs through transparent pipes, carrying the structure of the building and integrating itself into gathering spaces.
Yoga takes place as it is meant to encourage people to project their voices better whilst whisper chamber collect and amplify the smallest voices, which are not usually heard.
Finally, deployable units in the form of mobile bicycle powered units travel up and down the 606, disseminating information into the community.
The project aims to bring together citizens and the city alike.