Designing a Better Chicago

  An Annual

of Design + Impact

Designing a Better Chicago shines a light on our city’s extraordinary design legacy—the local talent, assets and community that have long supported civic good through design.

Launching with a Design Impact Grant Program in 2020 and a Riverwalk Design Installation in 2021, the initiative will showcase individuals and organizations, public art and programs across the city, inviting residents and visitors to consider the many ways design improves civic life.

Visit the Riverwalk

From June to October 2021, the Chicago Riverwalk will house an ambitious design installation, inviting visitors to enjoy the city’s architecture and waterfronts from a truly unique point of view.

See the 2021 installation

Design for Impact

Who are the innovators and visionaries helping to design a better Chicago? Our annual Design Impact Grant program awards up to $25K to local leaders using design to make a difference. test

Learn About the Grants

Do + See

Recorded on June 26, 2020


A Discussion with Designing a Better Chicago's 2020 Grant Recipients

Located at: Watch recorded program

The Design Impact Grant Program offers annual project-specific grants to individuals and organizations using design or design principles to directly address pressing issues in Chicago communities. Tanner Woodford, Founder and Executive Director of the Design Museum of Chicago , speaks with the program’s inaugural recipients about their outstanding efforts to “Design a Better Chicago”: Maya Bird-Murphy, Founder of Chicago Mobile Makers, and Kathy Gregg, Chief Development Officer of Maplewood Housing for the Visually Impaired.

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  • Lisa Simonian The Mart/NeoCon
  • Paul Makovsky Contract Magazine
  • Jenny Siegenthaler Terra Foundation of American Art
  • Nootan Bharani Arts + Public Life at UChicago Arts
  • Tara Headley Hendrick
  • Bill Beach
    Tanner Woodford Design Museum of Chicago
  • Will Miller Firebelly
  • Zoë Ryan Art Institute of Chicago
  • Stewart Hicks
    Allison Newmeyer Design with Company
  • Lydia Ross
    Nathan Mason Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
  • Yasmin Spiro IIDA