McKinley Square

2018 National DiscoverDesign Competition:

Define

Community markets serve the community by boosting the neighborhood both economically and socially. The site of 2211 W 35th Street is in a community that has a poor socioeconomic status, so building a transit-oriented development can greatly benefit the residents and its environment. Its location is easily accessible by other modes of transportation, such as walking or bicycles, so the need to drive will be decreased. The community market will also create job opportunities and many more benefits for the community for the years to come.

Collect Info

McKinley Park does not have a very large population, but it is very diverse. The age ranges from young children to senior residents. The prime demographic being the ages of 25 to 35 years. The predominant race is Hispanic, but other two large minority groups are Asians and Caucasians. The average household is married with children. The residents of this area come from low economic families. McKinley Park is about $100K below the annual income of Chicago. They do not make much money from their jobs. The residents are employed in low skill, low experience jobs in industries of hospitality, manufacturing, and retail. It is difficult for small businesses to thrive when there are many large business chains nearby, such as Target and Dunkin’ Donuts, however, it is not impossible. Businesses such as Lindy’s Chili & Gertie's Ice Cream and Berg & Berg Law are doing well in this neighborhood. Overall this area has many needs. Based on the residents, their income, and other factors, it reveals that McKinley park would greatly benefit from the integration of a community market.

Brainstorm Ideas

When I began to sketch, I knew that I wanted it to be an open space like a festival ground. As shown below, that idea of an open spaced followed through with each sketch. I thought that having an indoor and outdoor shopping areas would be great for residents and their businesses. The most important aspect to me was the indoor shopping area since it could be used year round, especially in the harsh snowy weather. Each sketch I created all had the same components in them; a central building, a greenhouse, a stage, a playground, a parking area, a garden, and a stage. I believe that these are important to the site because they can all be utilized to better the community. The versatility of components, such as the stage and central building, can fit the many needs of the neighborhood. I wanted the central building to not only be a place to shop, but also a place to socialize and really pull together the community. I see this space being one where many people who are alike in their own ways can come to connect and create relations they would not have had by staying in all day. Overall, I just wanted to make a space that was welcoming to its visitors and a place that attended to the needs of the residents in the neighborhood.

Develop Solutions

When developing my solution, I tried to places that I have been to in my own city. In Las Vegas, there are swap meets and second-hand stores in the poorer neighborhoods. I wanted to create a space that had a great sense of community like these places have. To achieve this, I had to think of who will be using this space. Majority of the population in this area are young adults and children. Knowing this demographic, I thought about how I can enhance my site even more with the nearby schools. Everett Elementary School is not even 0.2 miles away. Parents and students will be walking and driving to pick up their students every day. This constant exposure to the site can compel one to visit occasionally. The same idea goes for riders of the bus and the 35th/Archer subway. It can be used to kill time while waiting for their transportation or could be a place to protect them from the elements while waiting. Either way, this space is very versatile and can meet many needs of many different people.

Final Design

For my final design, I did not go with any of my prior sketches, but more like a combination of all of them. My final design incorporates all the components that I found important while making it aesthetically pleasing and welcoming. Upon first glance, one can easily pick out the main components of the site: the main building, the playground, the amphitheater, the greenhouse, and the garden, but upon further look, one can find aspects that can bring together a community. Inside the main building, there are individual kiosks that residents can rent out to sell their goods and services. The main building also has a seating area for those who need a place to sit and wait for the bus or subway. Outside of the main building, there is the playground. The playground is there to appeal to the children who visit with their families since a large chunk of the population is families with children. Outside there is also the center of the park that contains a tree with seating around it. This is a place where weary travelers can go and rest their legs if they please, or it can be a place where one can sit among nature and get some fresh air. The pathway branching from the center of the park leads to the greenhouse and garden where residents can work together to grow fresh produce all year round. The pathway also leads to the amphitheater. The amphitheater can be used for many events such as auctions, concerts, or fundraisers. Its simple design can be altered to fit many events that the residents may need. This final design has a plentiful amount of greenery and has all the components that I think a community market needs.