A couple of weeks ago we read about a recent master plan that was created for Lakeview. Although it wasn't the most revolutionary or enlightening document we've ever seen, we're sure it's valuable for their neighborhood. After all, long term planning and vision is critical for any business, country, state, city, etc to be viable in the future.
Although the build-up in and around the South Loop was a major emphasis of the city, the question remains what else can be done at the local level to improve the neighborhood?
Back in 2009 we did a couple posts about the Central Area Action Plan which was a large scale city planning document. Although this was a great vision, it seems broad and didn't really discuss specifics. With that in mind we're unaware of any other local documents that have been created to guide the future of the neighborhood (if there are please post a comment). Regardless, we're curious to hear people's thoughts on the subject.
- What ideas do you have that could make our neighborhood better?
- How can we encourage businesses to open up shop in the neighborhood?
- How do we get residents to spend more in the neighborhood?
- How do we get residents from other neighborhoods to come to the South Loop?
- What does the South Loop need (types of stores, restaurants, etc)?
- How can we create events that differentiates our neighborhood from others?
These are just some broad questions to think about. There are definitely more and feel free to post your questions/solutions/ideas in the comments section.
These questions came to mind after we recently spoke to a business owner on South Michigan avenue. He was concerned about the retail/business scene of South Michigan (i.e. - all of recent businesses closing and all of the vacant retail spaces). Although our discussion was brief, it got us thinking of ideas specifically for Michigan Avenue south of Roosevelt.
Our "higher-profile" sibling on the north side is much more glamorous. It's one of the more famous shopping districts in the world (rightfully so). They have world rennowned stores, large scale parades, amazing landscaping, beautiful flowers, and those famous holiday lights. Is there anything that could happen down on our side of Michigan Avenue that would be a consistent big draw or a way to "brand" the neighborhood?
Personally I'm a huge fan of dramatic lighting (see our posts on the beautiful lighting at the Scout and where Trader Joe's is coming in). Could we get all businesses to invest in dramatic, unique lighting on South Michigan (or all around the neighborhood)? Could our neighborhood be the neighborhood of light (think of Paris as inspiration)? Although this seems like it could be hard to pull off, the South Loop needs some radical, unique thinking. We need our neighborhood to rally around a concept and be the "neighborhood of _____".
Anyway, that's just one idea and who knows if it's feasible. Regardless sound off and let us know your ideas. Maybe the lighting idea is crazy, but we want to hear your ideas.