Our Process

archi-treasures is known for its participatory process. Creative professionals and community members participate together to design and then implement community ideas. archi-treasures has completed over 120 projects that continue to contribute to the livability of Chicago’s neighborhoods. This is a circular process comprised of five stages:


Planning is an essential part of the archi-treasures process. We begin by working with our community partner to answer questions which shape the project scope and approach. Using information from the community, archi-treasures staff will develop a project proposal and budget. Funding for the project must be confirmed before moving to the next phase of project development


archi-treasures uses a participatory design process which engages community members with architects and artists to brainstorm project ideas. Using their technical expertise and experience the artists and architects can help to answer questions as they arise, help to make visual images of people’s ideas and anticipate solutions to practical issues.


archi-treasures has the expertise to create professional quality projects that embody community spirit and include hands-on community participation. Projects are created by community members with assistance from staff and skilled professionals. archi-treasures has developed several program models, such as summer job programs for youth, community volunteer days, and after school programs.


archi-treasures celebrations are a way of recognizing the accomplishments of project participants and engaging the larger community. Grandmothers bake cupcakes, Dads barbeque, youth taking dance classes provide entertainment, local stores donate beverages- the possibilities are as rich and diverse as the communities themselves.


The sustain phase begins with inclusive planning. If project users are involved in all phases of project development, beginning with planning, then the project will be more sustainable. Projects will be designed to withstand intentional use and abuse and will be built with public use in mind.

“What attracted me to archi-treasures is the unique experience children gain through the participatory process of project development. This process not only builds character and life skills, it encourages children to think big with no boundaries. This process gives anyone the license to be an artist and make something that will create lasting memories among families and neighbors.” -Stephanie Sulcer