Chicago Mobile Makers was founded in 2017 by Maya Bird-Murphy who grew up in Oak Park and was no stranger to Chicago’s injustices in the built environment. When she went to architecture school, she quickly found out that she was one of the few people of color and she would go on to graduate as the only African American person in the class of about 80 students. Working in the field was no different than her experience in school. Maya started Chicago Mobile Makers to begin addressing these issues. The Design Impact Grant will support the Chicago Mobile Makerspace, a retrofitted USPS delivery van to be transformed into a classroom, tool shop, design studio, gallery, and community gathering space for Chicago youth. Design education programs - including meaningful design thinking, problem-solving, and skill-building workshops - will be able to be held anywhere the facility on wheels can travel, from an empty lot to a parking lot to a summer street festival. The project's long term objective is to help create the next generation of civically minded and responsible designers, architects, makers, and doers for a city built by, and for, all.
In 2020, we were thrilled to offer Design Impact Grants to Chicago Mobile Makers and Maplewood Housing for the Visually Impaired. We also recognized 7 additional projects for their outstanding work, ideas and efforts.