The Available City

Friday, Sep 17 – Dec 18, 2021

78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL

The Available City, the 2021 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, is a framework for a collaborative, community-led design approach that presents transformative possibilities for vacant urban spaces that are created with and for local residents. Through workshops, installations, activations, performances, and programs, The Available City invites a critical global conversation that asks how design can foster collective engagement and agency to identify new forms of shared space in urban areas. 

The fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial presents a new chapter of a decade-long research initiative led by 2021 Artistic Director, designer, and educator David Brown. The Available City introduces a process for bringing ideas generated from community workshops into existence on vacant lots in neighborhoods across the city. Currently, there are more than ten thousand city-owned, vacant sites in Chicago that each measure 25 by 125 feet. In aggregate, these lots are roughly equal in size to Chicago’s downtown center, the Loop. 

On view at the Graham Foundation through December 18, The Available City, part of the fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, presents projects that investigate how a community-led design process can create new spaces in the city. Projects by Christophe Hutin Architecture (Bordeaux), Departamento del Distrito (Mexico City), Drawing Architecture Studio (Beijing), El Cielo (Mexico City), Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas), fala (Porto), and RIFF Studio (NY), highlight collaborative and improvisational design approaches that put communities first.