Southern Commercial Avenue Gateway/The Underline

Join us as we transform an overlooked urban space underneath the Chicago Skyway. The goal of this project is to reshape this underutilized site into a vibrant community space, aligning with the area’s revitalization plan.


Project Information

The Underline is a plaza under the Chicago Skyway at Commercial Avenue and 94th Street. In Spring 2017, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) architectural students embarked on a mission to revitalize an overlooked urban space. In a 10-day competition, over fifty students formed teams to design a new public area beneath the Chicago Skyway, serving as the anchor to South Chicago’s Commercial Avenue corridor. Their goal was to transform this underutilized site into a vibrant community space, aligning with the area’s revitalization plan. The students’ visionary designs aimed to add value to vacant areas and improve community life. Their proposals were showcased at a community gallery, offering insights to residents, officials, and stakeholders. This competition, organized by UIC’s School of Architecture in collaboration with the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce/SSA #5 and the UIC Great Cities Institute, demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the urban landscape and engaging the community in shaping its future. Moreover, renowned artist Derric Clemmons, founder of South Worx Art Group, has envisioned a transformative project called “The Talking Tree.” This initiative aims to revitalize the space under the Chicago Skyway, turning it into a vibrant plaza with benches, a sculpture, and landscaping. The goal is to create a safe and inviting space for community members to gather and share ideas, bridging divides and fostering connections between South Chicago and Vet’s Park. This project promises to enhance community engagement and create a lasting impact on the area.

Currently the project team is conducting outreach to develop a community stewardship and governance plan for the site. If you would like to participate in this project and/or provide your thoughts and feedback, please contact GCI or fill out the form.






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