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Fill the (Housing) Gap:  A Missing Middle Design Competition

SITE 03: Chicago, IL

The Site and Program

The site located along the Southwest corner of Montrose Avenue and Rockwell Street (2567 W Montrose Ave), approximately .29 acres on the border of the Ravenswood Gardens and Horner Park neighborhoods. The location is just East of the North Branch of the Chicago River, Horner Park, walking distance to the Brown line Rockwell stop. The site is also walking distance to the Kindred Hospital and the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is bustling with restaurants and shopping.


Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest, with a population of 2.8 million and features the regions connection to culture, food, music, sports, vibrant neighborhoods as well as world-class universities.

Participants are strongly encouraged to consider the following:

  • The property is zoned as a B-3 Community Shopping District, a destination-oriented location, which strives to accommodate a very broad range of retail and service uses and permits residential dwelling units above the ground floor.

  • Be mindful and responsive to neighborhood context.  Use the infill designs to improve the existing fabric.  Compose the "missing teeth;" knitting the new with old. Designs should also strive to reflect the cultural diversity and history of the neighborhood.

  • Project viability and marketability is key. This includes cost effectiveness of development and construction.

  • Stormwater management is key to project viability.  Higher density can exacerbate runoff and burden downhill properties.  Measures will need to be demonstrated that mitigate an increased stormwater burden.

  • Amenities and/or a ground level retail space is encouraged. The street frontage should be activated to improve the public realm.

  • Account for required parking at a minimum of .5 parking space per residential unit.

  • Provide ample bicycle parking.

Example Resident Profiles

Jose is a single male in his mid 30’s and works for a nonprofit in downtown Chicago. He volunteers at his local community garden and for the Albany Park Community Center. He actively uses public transportation and rideshares to get around the City. He sold his car a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since.


David and Jennifer are a married couple in the early 40’s who would like to continue living near downtown, but they’ve outgrown their Chicago condo. They have two children, Ethan (6) and Sophia (3). David and Jennifer have one car but primarily rely on public transportation. Jennifer is a chef in a downtown Chicago Hotel and David is a stay at home Dad, who would like to expand his small woodworking business. Their children often attend programming at the Albany Park Community Center.


Bridgette is a single mother with 2 school age children: Eli, 7 and Natalie 11. Bridgette gets Natalie on the bus to attend a magnet school, then walks Eli to nearby Waters Elementary.  Bridgette has a new administrative job at a management company downtown – She is the sole income provider for the family. The family recently transitioned out of nearby subsidized housing, where many of the children's’ friends still reside.  Bridgette has an old car that is somewhat unreliable. The family often uses the nearby bus stop to visit friends and family in their old neighborhood.

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