"Last year we learned the community-focus model was very successful," says Bastiaan Bouma, managing director for Open House Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
"We were initially unsure about whether participants would visit neighborhood areas with the same enthusiasm of the downtown sites.
Yet many residents came out and toured sites in the communities, validating community engagement."
Apparently, Chicagoans are curious about their own backyards.
cites 80 percent of last year's estimated 25,000-30,000 participants hailed from Chicagoland.
We wanted diversity that captures the full flavor of a location," explains Bouma
says social and cultural characteristics, along with unique aspects, were primary criteria in selecting spots that will spotlight normally restricted and uncommonly viewed areas.
"Open House is a revelation in terms of seeing how global a city Chicago has become," states Bouma
, noting that 2011's event drew guests from 54 countries as well as all 50 states.
Evoking a strategy similar to picking bands to see at an outdoor music festival, Bouma
encourages people to select a region and hit all its available sites.
especially enthusiastic about lively albeit underrepresented neighborhoods.
"Explore a community outside of downtown that you have a sense about but with which you're not really familiar," he