Art student creates Sweet Homes Chicago design competition poster

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A junior at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago created the winning poster that captures the essence of the Austin-themed Sweet Homes Chicago design competition.

Design Makes Change’s second design competition, “Sweet Homes Chicago: The Neighborhood Preservation Project,” kicked off March 1 and urges designers, urban planners, architects, civil engineers and others to use their talents to address the high foreclosure rate in Austin.

The Sweet Homes Chicago project, also sponsored by the Chicago-based Unit 2 Art and Design Collective, is looking for applicants to develop plans or strategies to help combat foreclosures in Austin while working with local community partners.

Applications for the competition are due Aug. 15.

Michael Adams, 21, created the illustration that’s being used as the competition’s promotional flyer.

He found inspiration for his design from a Thomas Edison quote: “The body is a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants.”

“That totally just stuck to me right there,” said Adams, who lives in McHenry.

“There are so many things within a cell to make the cell live. That’s how a community is to me.”

He said communities are made of people from different ethnicities who need to come together to build up their community and restore it.

Adams’ winning design is an outline of Chicago’s boundary. He drew bold characters and buildings to take the place of Chicago’s community areas. The various characters and buildings on the map surround an outline of Austin’s border, which is shaded in orange. Chicago’s Green Line “L” runs through Austin to the South Side.

The quote and poster tie together, Adams said, because Austin and every other neighborhood in Chicago need to come together to work toward combating the housing crisis.

Adams said Austin has many rich resources in the community, and the historic buildings “are just beautiful, even though the housing crisis is such a big deal.”

“It’s still a very historic town.”

Using Austin as a model for change, the Sweet Homes Chicago competition is calling on designers to create a design or plan that helps to answer one or more of the following questions:

• How can design help the residents, businesses, and institutions in neighborhoods like Austin face and adapt to the current economic environment?
• How can design help keep people in their homes or get people back into their homes?
• Using Austin as a model, how can design help Americans stay invested and economically engaged in the places where we live?

For more information on the competition and to view Adams’ poster, click here.

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