November 13 // 8:00am – 1:00pm

To understand the sheer power of what’s possible when communities, nonprofits, corporations, foundations, artists, and elected officials work together with common purpose, there’s only one thing you can do: experience it for yourself.

These thoughtfully designed, deeply immersive experiences are each guided by dynamic community leaders from across Chicago. You’ll explore Chicago’s neighborhoods, meet the people who call them home, and see firsthand how unique approaches to changework are transforming lives.

Austin / Lawndale  

The predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Austin and Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side were once thriving manufacturing districts. Visit a former 40-acre Sears Industrial complex in Lawndale now transformed into a community cultural center and architectural asset. Lunch at Farm on Ogden, a Chicago Botanic Garden initiative combining food, health, and jobs to support and sustain a healthy urban community. Explore issues like art spaces and practices, urban/city planning, community organizing, economic and community development, and park-space.

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Austin and Lawndale Tour: Building Community in Chicago’s West Side

Back of the Yards

Once the subject of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and ground-zero for modern community organizing, Chicago’s Back of the Yards is now home to transformation demonstrating the immense potential of the adaptive reuse of legacy and historic sites to create new community cultural spaces, as well as tactical approaches to community organizing. Stops on this tour include a sustainable collaborative now operating in the once-infamous Union Stock Yards and a satellite location of a community theatre serving Chicago Southwest Side, a predominantly Latinx community.

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Back of the Yards: Transforming Chicago’s Southwest Side


Birthplace of five Chicago mayors, Bridgeport, once known for racial intolerance, is now a thriving hub of artists, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. Following a tour through cultural and commercial centers featuring local artists’ work, lunch at a local restaurant, then enjoy kayakers on the Chicago River at the Eleanor Boathouse at Park 57. Explore issues like hybrid art spaces and practices, park-space, urban/city planning, community organizing approaches, economic and community development.

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Bridgeport: A Glimpse into Chicago’s Future?


Named the “Great Migration”, the Bronzeville community on Chicago’s South Side was the center for African-American culture and business in the 1920s-1950s. After years of decline, the community has been rebuilding, making Bronzeville a testament to the power of legacy cultural institutions and social service organizations in urban communities and tactical approaches to community organizing. Stops on this tour include The Urban Resilience Network (TURN), South Side Community Arts Center, and a unique retail space called the Bronzeville Boombox.

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Bronzeville: A Walk Through Chicago’s Black Metropolis

Chicago Lawn

Home base for this Chicago Lawn tour will be Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago’s South Side, where staff and artists will illuminate challenges and solutions for designing programs for those reentering post-incarceration, reenvisioning historic spaces for community use, making public spaces, and more. Stops include the Beloved Community Ceramics Studio to learn about IMAN’s Green Reentry program and the Cornerstore Campaign, as well as the historic Marquette Park for a visit to an MLK memorial site.

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Chicago Lawn: Supporting the Muslim Community in South Side and Beyond


Think you know Chicago’s South Side? In Englewood, you’re going to discover a bustling community of emerging creatives, entrepreneurs, and urban space activators. Contemplate the relationship between space and philosophy with Sweetwater Foundation. Explore the Think-Do House, a repurposed foreclosure dedicated to hands-on learning. Wander through an urban farm, a multi-purpose greenhouse, and a shipping container turned art gallery. Englewood is where imagination turns into opportunity — and opportunity awaits you.  

Hyde Park

From the curious terraces of the UChicago’s Harris School of Public Policy to the catalytic spaces of the Logan Center for the Arts to the cavernous ideas incubator at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Hyde Park blends art, innovation, and public life in mind-opening ways. And we know who comes to mind when you think of Hyde Park. So, we’ll make sure you see the future location of the Obama Presidential Library, too!

Little Village / Brighton Park

This tour of two communities near Chicago’s West Side will highlight efforts focused on arts, culture, and families to show how arts practices, adaptive reuse of space, and community organizing can help a community thrive. Stops include a youth-dedicated satellite location of the National Museum of Mexican Art, an arts collaborative, a steel company campus that hosts international graffiti artists each year, and a sanctuary school that offers a variety of services for youth and families.


This walking tour of Chicago’s Loop neighborhood features examples of Chicago’s built environment along the Chicago River highlighting the power of tech and engineering and adaptive reuse to create spaces that are both functional and economically viable. Stops include sites along the Chicago River and 1871—an incubator space in the 140,000-square foot Merchandise Mart managed by P33, a cross-disciplinary initiative to drive inclusive, global technology leadership in Chicago.


Lower West Side’s Pilsen community is where Chicago’s rich tradition of architecture meets the vibrant contributions of the city’s Mexican immigrant community. As such, Pilsen is an enriching study of emerging arts practices in urban communities as well as the impact of gentrification in community development. Stops include the National Museum of Mexican Fine Art, Pilsen’s historic 18th Street, and an emerging entrepreneurial business community that’s rich with artistic and culinary diversity.


All aboard for an issues-based tour of Pullman, the 19th century neighborhood created by railcar magnate Geroge M. Pullman. Designated by President Obama as a National Monument, Pullman is a unique place to explore issues such as historic preservation, urban planning, adaptive re-use, and economic development. Among our stops: an historic apartment building that now offers affordable live/work space for artists and their families, plus a former strip mall where budding restaurateurs can launch their business within a “diverse dining collective.”  

Greater Grand Crossing

What, exactly, is a hybrid cultural economy? Best to find out in person! On this tour, you’ll experience three signature art and community centers in Washington Park developed by University of Chicago professor and visionary artist Theaster Gates. Explore the Stony Island Arts Bank, the Dorchester Art & Housing Collaborative, and the Listening House and the Archive House. Then have a meal with local creatives who are helping to lead an extraordinary new approach to transforming communities.