Cover the Grid is a series of architectural-scale urban land paintings produced with GPS-guided robots in the neighborhoods of North Lawndale and Pilsen. The typical application for these semi-autonomous robots is the painting of sports fields. Cover the Grid uses this temporary space-making technique to prototype and envision futures for underutilized and underserved locations on Chicago’s West Side. Each urban painting engages civic boundaries, public rights-of-way, the Chicago grid, and existing neighborhood infrastructure. Cover the Grid produces a dynamic, temporary civic space with no associated material waste or demolition costs.
The project is expansive, not expensive. Cover the Grid’s semi-autonomous robots ensure the project eschews the waste consequences often associated with temporary architecture. It is a temporal installation that disappears with only sun, wind, and rain.
Cover the Grid transforms vacant territory into landscapes for civic gathering through the modest act of painting; this installation activates civic space by superimposing new programs, remapping existing urban boundaries, or re-parceling existing lots to reveal the potential of existing parcels in The Available City.