Category: Architecture

We’re excited to share there are some really cool updates coming soon about the expanded focus of ChicagoMade.




Chicago’s economy has always remained uniquely tied to creatives, makers, and blue collar dreamers. Generations of bold entrepreneurs with work ethic and collaboration defined by their Midwest roots have contributed to Chicago’s assent as a leading hub of creativity for industries such as music, film, architecture, food, fashion, and product design. These businesses are the entrepreneurial bedrock of the city’s ingenuity and continual rebirth that Chicago has been known for since the invention of the skyscraper, mail order shopping, and improve comedy. Perhaps most importantly, these locally-grown businesses give unique cultural identities to neighborhoods throughout the city and are increasingly jump starting neighborhood economies.


Despite creatives and makers being the backbone of thriving neighborhoods, too often they are not considered an important part of the economy or supported with the resources needed to unlock their potential for growth. Further highlighting the economic importance of creatives, more Chicagoans are moving towards this sort of employment – nearly all net new jobs created in the U.S. during the past decade have come from alternative work (freelancers, makers, etc.) – many of which in the creative jobs or industries. More importantly, 3.5x more dollars stay in local economies when spent with these local creative small businesses compared to national chain retailers, yet the average lifespan of these businesses is only 5 years. By establishing a baseline on the city’s creative economy, Chicago can align its fragmented creative industry ecosystem and empower these overlooked economic engines to sustain growth, help the neighborhoods they serve, and grow the city’s economy from the ground up.


So our expanded focus? Making sure creatives will be supported as the backbone of our neighborhood economies and as drivers of the city’s reputation as a global creative hub.


Stay tuned!