The centennial of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, President Barack Obama’s election, and Mayor Richard M. Daley's retirement are all landmark events in Chicago's recent history. The city has reemerged as a global center, confirmed by the January 2011 visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao , which was his only other scheduled stop in the U.S. besides Washington D.C. In light of these events, this speculative urban design proposal envisions the center of Chicago as a center of the world – what the sociologist Saskia Sassen has called a “spatial moment of power.” The site for the project is the Chicago Circle – a large highway interchange located in the center of the city, on the western edge of the downtown Loop. This site is the proposed, but unrealized core of Burnham’s plan, which was to be a new Civic Center for the city. Instead of a monument to democracy, it eventually became the third most congested traffic interchange in the U.S. and responsible for the loss of 25 million driving hours per year. Chicago’s downtown has expanded beyond the Loop in the past two decades, to the north, south, and west. In that time, the Circle has become an increasingly problematic void surrounded by new building density and massive transportation infrastructure including three highways, the CTA transit blue line, an interstate bus station, Union Rail Terminal, and the Chicago River. Thus the myriad possibilities for redevelopment support the idea of a scenario planning project in which diverse futures can be explored for the site.



Making Space for the future.

Creating a vision of the future through
cross-disciplinary explorations that leverage the possibilities of scale, media, and time

New Book: Recurrent Visions

New Book: The Architecture of Collage






Western Exhibitions


The world has changed and so has the way we encounter new ideas and experiences.

Cultural institutions and civic entities creating programs for cultural stimulus now compete with a bevy of channels and media to reach ever elusive audiences. But curating conversations about our future is critical to empower stewardship and generate belonging.

MBPRO invites audiences to explore their potential for transformation while supporting our partners with bespoke solutions so that together we can make space for the future.

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