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Who Should Pay for Chicago’s Sidewalk Maps?

If you’ve been in downtown Chicago this summer, you’ve seen them: ten-foot-tall metal pylons containing a glass-encased city map on one side and an ad or cultural announcement on the other. In recent months, 75 of the information signs have been installed on sidewalks throughout the Loop, paid for entirely with ad revenue. So what’s the problem? According to Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, placing ads on the signs cheapens the public streetscape. I couldn’t disagree more.

Pioneering in Polk Street Canyon

I have the Malcontents of Polk Street Canyon to thank for my boyfriend’s new apartment. Unhappy with the fratty scumminess of his downtown condo building, in May, Devyn dragged me around town to scope out new digs. We didn’t have to look very far. On a shopping trip to the Roosevelt Road Target, we found ourselves wandering through Printers Row. And smack into the hands of the malcontents–who sold us on the new building whose construction they’ve been trying to prevent.