Building on the PAST – Creating the FUTURE

The Chicago Housing Authority is working with Gensler to craft a comprehensive urban design strategy for the remaining vacant land at Oakwood Shores, the former Madden Wells public housing site covering approximately 94 acres on Chicago’s South Side Bronzeville neighborhood.

The effort will be focused on creating a community based vision, which will “build on the PAST” to “create a brighter FUTURE” for the neighborhood.



Originally constructed in 1941, Ida B. Wells was initially praised as the first African American public housing development in the country for working families, and continued to expand with the Wells Extension (built 1955), Clarence Darrow Homes (built 1961), and Madden Park Homes (built 1970), totaling over 3,200 residential units. 

As part of the Chicago Housing Authority Plan for Transformation, a HOPE VI Master Plan was created by McCormick Baron Salazar and Meisrow Stein in 1999.  The proposed plan called for approximately 3,000 units of mixed-income housing developed within a network of public parks, schools, community buildings and retail space.   Demolition began in 2002 and concluded in the summer 2011. The first phase of new construction for mixed-income housing began in 2003.  Led by The Community Builders, 920 units have been planned and constructed thus far, which now requires a new thoughtful approach for the balance of the site and remaining number of units that responds to market conditions and community needs.

Our Approach

This is NOT a development

this is a community

We are NOT starting over

we are building on what has been done

We are NOT siloed neighbors

we are residents of
one community

Understanding the Neighborhood

Living in the Neighborhood
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Latest Community Meeting



Oakwood Shores, Chicago IL
Oakwood Shores

Project Team