Together with the City of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago River and many others, the Metropolitan
Planning Council spent the past year scouring existing plans and working with residents and river
enthusiasts to design a long-term vision and action agenda for Chicago’s 100-plus miles of rivers. Their
collective goal for 2040 is that Chicago’s rivers will be inviting, productive, and living. Getting to the
riverfront can be difficult in some communities, and in many places there is no public land along the
Design a community center and public space on a barge that can be docked along the river. You
must research and choose a specific location and community you want to serve. A standard barge is
a 35’ x 192’ rectangle. You are not required to build a full model of a barge, but will rather design
the space above the water. You must explain how you address a specific community need through
Identify the problem
• Read “The Challenge” above.
• Choose a location to place your barge.
• Research Chicago’s rivers, starting with the Great Rivers Chicago vision.
• Where can you access the river? If you can’t, how do you wish you could?
• How do other cities put public space on the river?
Brainstorm & Analyze
• Make several bubble diagrams of your area.
• What are the possibilities being on a barge vs on land?
• What kind of potential activities could happen on your barge?
• What could be indoors? Outdoors? In-between?
• What materials could you use to represent your design?
Get Feedback & Improve
• Ask your teacher, friends, family, neighbors, what they think of your design.
• Get professional feedback at CAF’s Teen Open Studios