The Chicago Department of Transportation and Architecture for Humanity Chicago are looking for submissions to their annual ACTIVATE! Design Competition. 
The contest is about finding interesting ways to revamp overlooked public spaces. It’s called placemaking — making inviting public places for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to gather.
Designers put together temporary installations on a budget – just $1,000 or less – to energize underused or overlooked spots around the city. ACTIVATE! 2013 will be a partnership with CDOT as part of the Make Way for People initiative.  This year’s locations are in Pilsen, Old Town, Woodlawn and East Garfield Park.
Creativity is important. Entries also must emphasize community growth and development. Entries are due March 15.
The Metropolitan Planning Council provides a great overview of the benefits of placemaking on the economy, elderly and public health in its January blog series on the subject.