A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Pedways: Chicago Underground


AIADO 4956 001
Faculty: Jonathan Solomon

The Chicago downtown pedestrian way system, or Pedway, is a network of walkways, above and below ground, that links over 50 of the city’s buildings through a spatially contiguous, if not atmospherically continuous, interior. Begun in 1951, the Pedway is neither centrally planned nor discretely administered. As part of a larger network of underground roads, tunnels and service spaces in the city’s core, it instantiates as the result of conflicting dreams and evolving apprehensions of the postwar American city: part public infrastructure and part private enclave, simultaneously a heterotopia of connection and a heterotopia of dispossession; a space of modernity and place outside it; the Pedway is all in the city we do not see, and all we cannot look away from. Inviting students to explore the unique forms of study that occur below the surface, Pedways: Chicago Underground posits alternative narratives for the Pedway and the city through research, engagement, and art and design interventions on the space of the Pedway itself.