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Garfield Green housing project, winner of global design competition, moves ahead

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The project addresses climate change through sustainable design and construction.

Garfield Green project renderings
Courtesy of the City of Chicago

In C40’s global Reinventing Cities competition, the sustainable Garfield green project was selected as a winner in May—now the team will get to move forward along with several other affordable housing projects.

Chicago’s Department of Housing announced Garfield Green would be one of 11 projects to get low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC). Every year the city is responsible for distributing those tax credits which help create more affordable housing.

The design competition asked for submissions that would turn vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and parking lots into innovative, sustainable development that could mitigate climate change. Chicago’s winning project, designed by architecture firm Perkins+Will, features a pioneering process modular construction.

The site, at the corner of Kedzie and Fifth avenues, is an empty 1.5 acre lot. Soon, there will be 77 new apartments: 32 affordable-rate units, 31 cooperative housing units, and 14 market-rate units. The plan also includes 20,000 square feet of public space and a 12,000-square-foot public plaza.

The design prioritizes sustainability by using solar panels to supply all energy needs, modular construction materials made in Little Village, and a green roof that will grow food and help with storm water runoff. Also included in the proposal is a plan for a clinic to address health issues like an increase in asthma rates.

In 2017, the mayor made two city-owned sites available for the competition, the East Garfield Park lot and an industrial property on Pershing Road in McKinley Park. Three proposals for the Garfield Park site were shortlisted but proposals for McKinley Park didn’t meet the city’s requirements.

In 2019, the project team said they would soon acquire the site for $600,000 and received feedback on their initial proposal from the neighborhood. In order to make this project a reality, the team will need to get a finalized design review, zoning approvals, and City Council approvals which is expected to happen in the next year.

There are solar panels and a green roof on top of Garfield Green.
Courtesy of the City of Chicago