Turning empty lots into sponsored gardens


I saw a few articles recently about how Toyota is paying to plant roadside gardens in California. Although not overtly commercial, the gardens feature designs that reinforce the overall branding strategy for their new Prius model. This is a great idea, since it helps improve public spaces without turning them into the type of billboards that tend to draw the ire of local residents.

I would love to see this approach expanded to certain areas in Chicago. For instance, I know of one lot that’s been sitting empty for years, waiting for a hotel project that will probably never happen. The lot is surrounded by several office buildings, and the people who work there just see a dirt patch when they look down. This would be a great opportunity for a corporate sponsor to come in and turn the vacant lot into a garden. Even if the pattern of flowers and grass looked sort of like a well-known logo or other campaign element, it’s better than the pile of dirt that occupies the lot today.