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  Open Chicago

Open Chicago                                  


According to the US Census, 1 in 4 Americans has a disability. Despite their large numbers, there is discrimination against people with disabilities in almost all government services. Archeworks sought to remedy this marginalization by analyzing and responding to The Commerce Club’s Chicago Metropolis 2020 Plan. Specific consideration was given to the role design could play in fostering both the civil rights of people with disabilities and the city’s economic growth.

From focus groups, the team learned that most disability services in the US have been formulated based on two modalities of thinking, the medical model and the charity model. The medical model defines those with disabilities as people to be cured or fixed, while the charity model views the disabled as objects of pity. This has led to an overemphasis on the health care needs of people with disabilities, as well as segregation from mainstream society.

In response, the team developed Open Chicago, a series of three guidebooks, focused on the travel needs of people with visual, auditory, and mobility-related disabilities. The books help to solve many of the problems that people face while planning their vacations.

In July of 2004, the team self-published the first editions of Open Chicago and distributed them at the 1st National Disability Pride Parade. Since then, Archeworks has formed a partnership with Open Doors Organization, the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center, and the Kostas Z Foundation.


RE: Space (accessible entryway, drawings), Crosswalk, 1926 Exhibition Studies Space, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2004).

Open Chicago, Chicago Architecture: Ten Visions, The Art Institute of Chicago (2004-2005).


First Prize, Print, Student Category, Idealist.org Nonprofit Design Competition

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