CategoriesIHCC News

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with IDEO, BMO Harris Bank and the Illinois Restaurant Association, today announced the Winter Design Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition that will engage community members to reimagine the winter outdoor dining experience in Chicago.

The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) supports and celebrates this innovative initiative.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to Chicago’s restaurant and bar owners, and the Winter Design Challenge will draw on the expertise and creativity of Chicago residents to propose innovative outdoor dining solutions that adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The

Challenge will run from August 25 to September 7, with winners announced in mid-September.

The Winter Design Challenge will use human-centered design principles to generate ideas that are tailor made to suit the needs of Chicago residents and take into account the many stakeholders involved – from customers to restaurant workers to construction trade workers.

In partnership with IDEO, a leading global design company, the City will use design thinking to find ideas that are innovative, viable, equitable and feasible.

All City of Chicago residents are invited to participate in the Winter Design Challenge. Submissions will be accepted on IDEO’s open innovation platform. A
panel of local restaurants and community members will select one winner in each of the following categories:

1) Outdoor, standalone structures
2) Indoor-adjacent spaces
3) Cultural shifts making winter dining more appealing

All submissions must comply with local COVID-19 guidelines. Thanks to support from BMO Harris Bank, each winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and opportunities to pilot their idea at restaurants and bars in the City.

The Winter Design Challenge builds on Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to support restaurants and bars during each phase of the City’s re-opening framework. In May, Mayor Lightfoot announced the Expanded Outdoor Dining Program, which has allowed over 300 restaurants and bars to temporarily into the street or private property.

This program was recently expanded to allow taverns without a Retail Food Establishment license to expand into the sidewalk area for the first time. In June, Chicago City Council passed Mayor Lightfoot’s reforms to the sidewalk café permit, making it easier and cheaper for restaurants to operate on their sidewalk

The City is looking for innovative ideas to keep bars and restaurants thriving during the cold winter months.

To learn more about The Winter Design Challenge, click here.

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