No Small Plans hopes to inspire Chicago teens to design the city they want

Launched with a Kickstarter campaign, the Chicago Architecture Foundation aims to get No Small Plans into the hands of thousands of Chicago teens.

April 24, 2017 |

Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation

Inspired by the 1911 textbook Wacker’s Manual, which sought to teach Chicago’s eighth graders about the importance of good urban planning and development and inspire them to take the city’s future into their own hands, a new graphic novel hopes to accomplish the same thing for Chicago’s teens of the 21st century.

The main idea behind the graphic novel, dubbed No Small Plans, was to “reinvent Wacker’s Manual as a graphic novel with students and their lives at the center,” according to the project’s Kickstarter page.

After a competition to find the book’s artists, No Small Plans moved ahead in production with the result being a 144-page color graphic novel that follows the neighborhood adventures of teens in Chicago’s past, present, and future. The first chapter depicts Chicago in 1928, the second in 2017, and the third in 2211.

The Kickstarter campaign has already easily surpassed its $20,000 goal and currently sits at $45,000. The original $20,000 goal allowed for the Chicago Architecture Foundation to get 2,000 copies of the graphic novel into the hands of Chicago teens. Two stretch goals of $30,000 and $40,000 have already been reached with each one meaning an additional 1,000 copies of No Small Plans will make their way to Chicago teens this year. If the final stretch goal of $50,000 is reached within the next 6 days (as of April 24), the Chicago Architecture Foundation will be able to achieve its ultimate goal of giving 5,000 copies of the graphic novel to Chicago teens by the end of this year.

No Small Plans supports Illinois civic education requirements and is intended for students in sixth through tenth grade. You can view the project’s Kickstarter campaign here.

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