The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning


The ChicagoLAB is an intensive summer design and research studio conducted in partnership with College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah and Archeworks’ Chicago Complex. Students will prepare in SLC prior to leaving for the 6-week Chicago experience where they will work on topics related to ongoing efforts in the city related to sustainability, community development, planning, and design. Additional lectures, tours, critiques, and events engaging students directly with practitioners, city officials, and community groups will be arranged to allow for further education and networking opportunities.

  • An embedded studio within Chicago’s premiere architecture and urban design firms
  • 6-week studio focused on design projects that matter to the city
  • Work under the direction of award-winning urban planners and architects
  • Engage with a spectrum of leaders: mayor’s office to activists to residents

ARCHEWORKS is a multidisciplinary design school with a social agenda. ARCHEWORKS advances design in the public interest and inspires collaborative action to shape healthier, sustainable and equitable communities thought a program called CHICAGO COMPLEX. Their public forums and partnership based education programs propose a range of socially responsible and ecologically resourceful design solutions for urban communities. More information is available at and

The mission of the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah is to nurture a culture of discovery, design and innovation in our designed world rooted in an ethic of care, community and commitment. Our efforts will be the spark for positive transformation in our designed world to promote the health and well-being of our society and environment through research, community engagement and educational experiences shaped to nurture the agile, inventive minds necessary to address global challenges that are yet unknown.




Summer 2018 – May 14 – June 20


Any undergraduate or graduate student
(Credit type dependent on year and major)


  • 3-4 university credits (credit type dependent on year and major)
  • CMP students
    • Undergraduate – 4 credit hours towards CMP 4280
    • Graduate – 3 credit hours towards CMP 6280
  • ARCH students
    • Undergraduate – 4 credit hours towards graduate coursework (see below)
    • Graduate – 3 credit hours towards an experimental studio course
  • Continuing education option is available for no credit (Cost $450)
  • Undergraduate students from other disciplines could count the program as a capstone course (UGS 4820)
  • ChicagoLAB Course numbers:
    • ARCH 4965 (3 credit hours) and ARCH 4960 (2.5 credit hours)
    • CMP 4960 (4 credit hours, undergraduate) and CMP 6960 (3 credit hours, graduate)


The program fee is $2,000 and it covers housing in Pilsen (one of the coolest neighborhoods in the City), workspace downtown (at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and CannonDesign), a CTA transit pass to get around the City, group meals and other entertainment activities including, networking events, tours, visits to landmarks like the Chicago Design Museum, the Bean and many others! This fee does not include tuition, airfare, meals or entertainment expenses of your own.


  • Furnished, shared housing in La Casa
  • Office space/workstation in a private practice in Chicago at SOM and CannonDesign
  • 4-day work week to allow for time to explore the city


  • Work directly with local a+d firms and civic leaders
  • Meet and build relationships with the global leaders
  • Attend several architectural / cultural events in and around Chicago
  • Private lectures by Chicago-based practitioners
  • Attend several group lunches and dinners
  • Have free time to explore Chicago

For More Information or to Apply

Contact Ivis Garcia at


Scholarships might be available for top candidates. There will be a series of team building exercises and preparatory research in April and May.



On June 15, 2018, a Housing Summit was convened under the leadership of the Puerto Rican Agenda, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (The “Organizers”). Its purpose was to facilitate bold discussions, kickoff a research agenda, create new strategies to celebrate, preserve, and strengthen the cultural vibrancies of Chicago’s Near Northwest neighborhoods and maintain their existing housing affordability.

Continue reading here.




The ChicagoLAB cohort worked with the Puerto Rican Agenda, a collective of leaders in the Humboldt Park area. One group worked with West Town Bikes to help develop projects that promote safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists, while emphasizing a sense of place. Another group worked with the Division Street Business Development Association to create a brochure and a map sign, and implement other innovative ideas to highlight local art, murals, businesses, and community institutions. Finally, a group offered design alternatives to the Consuelo Lee Corretjer Childcare Center, from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, who will soon double its capacity by moving into a new building.


Promoting Paseo

Safe Passage

Childcare Center


In 2015 students collaborated with CannonDesign to focus on the repurposing of 4 CPS schools that were a part of over 50 closures. The students visited the schools, met with students, teachers, and principals, to unravel the complex conditions related to each closure and identify new ways of designing the 21st century neighborhood school. The team was led by an official from the City of Chicago’s Planning Department.

Near North Special Educaiton Center

Near North Special Educaiton Center

School Reuse Project

School Reuse Project








Repurposing Trumbull School

Repurposing Trumbull School

Visualizing Connection

Visualizing Connection










The 2014 project is focused on the physical conditions surrounding Midway Airport, which is located on the city’s southwest The Midway Study_2014 side, eight miles from the Loop. The goal of the project is to explore physical and nonphysical solutions to improve and integrate the surrounding communities with MDW and to create a sense of arrival to Chicago. Studies also question the role of zoning, the creation of affordable housing and employment opportunities to attract and retain for residents to the area.





In 2013, ChicagoLAB developed Chinatown’s Masterplan with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning, the City of Chicago, and the Chinese American Service League. Students worked closely with the leaders of SOM to test, explore and imagine the future of the area and implications of new development.

three corridorschicago chinatown






This year students also worked in collaboration with CannonDesign and GZA Environmental to develop a prototype for “the neighborhood of the future”, designing a closed looped system that was focused on energy, waste, water, and quality of life. The project was presented to the Mayor’s Chief Sustainability Officer to plant the seeds of a phased approach to more sustainable systems.



2017-2018 Topic Information:

Currently the ChicagoLAB team is looking into two projects:

Lathrop Homes Redevelopment – We are proposing working with the Chicago Housing Authority, Bickerdike, Public Housing History Museum, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, among others to envision the creation of a public space that takes into account the history of Lathop—a public housing site. We will be conducting and archiving oral histories of public housing residents, mostly older adult, as well as hosting charrettes that will help the team with the redevelopment of currently vacant structures.





Resettlement of Displaces from Hurricane Maria – Chicago has received about 2,000 Puerto Ricans that have been displaced by Hurricane Maria, by the end of the year the city expects to have received a total of 10,000. People who have been displaced are moving with family members, to homeless shelters and renting thought the private market, Section 8 and Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) from FEMA. This team will work with the Puerto Rican Agenda and housing organizations like LUCHA, Hispanic Housing, among others, to understand where and how are people are relocating and what community partners can do to help those that have been displaced by Maria.



chicagolabSubmit an application with your contact information, names and contact info for two references, resume and 250 statement using the following online form to Ivis Garcia on March 12, 2018 by 5:00pm. Selections will be announced on or prior to March 23, 2018. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due April 1st for accepted students. The remaining fee payment of $1,500 is due April 30. There will be a series of team-building exercises and preparatory research in April and May. If the number of desired participants for the ChicagoLAB is not met, we reserve the right to cancel the course.  For more info contact Ivis Garcia at or 801-833-4073.

Download Application


2017-2018 Undergraduate Funding Opportunities:
Applications are being accepted for scholarships to offset expenses related to travel for the ChicagoLAB program for summer 2018. Only students who have been accepted into the program are eligible for scholarship funding. The committee reserves the right to allocate the available funding as they see fit in one or more scholarship awards.

Apply for an Ivory Homes Capstone Initiative Fund Form:
The Ivory Homes Capstone Initiative Fund offers University of Utah undergraduate students enrolled in a Capstone course the opportunity to apply for up to $1,000 of support for their Capstone project. Funds can be used for tools, materials, travel expenses, and other expenses* needed to support their projects.
* Funds cannot be used as a stipend for students participating in Capstone courses.

To apply for an Ivory Homes Capstone Grant, please fill out this form and submit online. Although applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can be submitted at anytime, we encourage you to submit an application by: March 12, 2018.

Submit Online Form

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides undergraduate students and faculty members the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects. UROP provides assistantships up to $1,200 for any first-time student who assists with a faculty member’s research or creative project, or who carries out a project of his or her own under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may apply for an assistantship any semester (summer included), and may be eligible for a one-semester renewal. UROP recipients are hired by the Office of Undergraduate Research and are paid $10/hour for up to 120 hours of work during the semester. Application is due March 23, 2018.

UROP Instructions

Other ways to Raise Funds:
Go Fund Me
Some students in the past have used Go Fund Me to raise fund. We are providing here a simple message you can use, but that is important to add your own personality to it. Maybe you want to offer people things for their support: a picture, a postcard, a Chicago-t-shirt, weekly updates, etc. Do not feel self-conscious about asking for money. GET OVER IT. Christmas is soon and instead of gifts you can simply as for money. Family and friend will help you and this is a totally worth it reason: your education, your personal growth, networking, etc. Posted the link into your friend’s walls. About 20 a day, whatever the limit. This is how you get the $3,000: VISIBILITY! Posting it on your own wall doesn’t have the same effect.

Are you thinking is too late? It is not! You can ask for support before, during, and after Chicago, until you reach your goal. What if my goal is $4,000, but I only get $2,000? No problem! You can withdraw your donations from Go Fund me even if you only get $5.

How I get my money? The contributions that you get go to your bank account directly (which you provide when you open your account).  More info about withdrawing here. Go Fund Me will deduct about 7.9% from each donation you receive.

Do you have to pay taxes? No, these are personal gift.

Here’s a video of how a past student did set-up their Go Fund Me:

Here’s one account example:
Brian Galyean

Download ChicagoLAB Template


Ivis Garcia, PhD

Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Garcia is an urban planner with a long history of working with and for low-income communities throughout the nation including Albuquerque, New Mexico, the San Francisco bay Area, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Ivis is currently a professor at the University of Utah in City and Metropolitan Planning as well as a planning commissioner in Salt Lake City. Her work addresses the problems of uneven development, as well as grassroots organizing and community development. She is interested in facilitating the integration of racialized and ethnic groups into democratic planning processes.


April Jackson, PhD

April Jackson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. Her work focuses on the planning and implementation of new urbanism in public housing redevelopment and how planners can work more effectively to design and build sustainable mixed income communities that meet the needs of low income families. April’s research interests include mixed-income development, plan implementation, culturally competent pedagogy, and new urbanism as a tool to revitalize communities. Prior to her faculty position she worked as an architect and urban designer on public housing redevelopment projects, neighborhood revitalization plans, and new urbanist communities in the U.S., China, and the Middle East.


Andrew Balster

Andrew is a Chicago-based leader operating in the fields of architecture, urbanism, public policy, sociology, and academia. Working closely with influential leaders in the public and private sector, ranging from architects and planners to government officials and social activists, he creates research platforms with universities to explore many forms of cultural production. In practice, Andrew has worked on projects that are broad in typology and scale – ranging from small civic centers to super-tall towers to entire urban districts. Andrew was a Senior Designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in Chicago on several award-winning projects located all over the globe. He received an MScAAD and an MArch w/distinction from the University of Edinburgh in the UK. Andrew joined Archeworks as Executive Director in February 2015.




Please take a moment leave us an expression of interest or any questions to Ivis Garcia.

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