We’re in an era of rebuilding. A few weeks ago I encountered a piece by David Lepeska, a contributing writer for the Atlantic Cities blog, about the growing efforts to rebuild America. Rebuilding efforts unfold in a variety of ways—from Barack Obama’s recent speech about infrastructure, American workers, and the middle-class to the growing number of DIY art projects in abandoned and underserved urban settings.

In 1990, Chicago’s population was a little over eight million. Today it’s nearly ten. Over the past 20 years, there has been a huge migration into cities; America is now more urban than rural. In light of Mayor Emanuel’s plan to use private funds for public building projects—i.e., the Infrastructure Trust—and Lepeska’s article, I wanted to take note of some creative, grassroots rebuilding strategies happening in Chicago.