About Good City Group


Formed in March 2013 by ARCHEWORKS, the Good City Group is a salon-style urban design group of architects, industrial designers, urban planners, design strategists, IT professionals and policymakers from diverse practice areas dedicated to healthy, sustainable cities. We are a self-managed multi-stakeholder group that came together out of a collective desire for cross-disciplinary, experimental conversations about complex issues that affect our everyday experiences living in a larger metropolis. Our goals are to seed imaginative ideas and create opportunities for advocacy around these ideas with a network of stakeholders and partners that share our interest in social innovations and improved daily living.


The Good City Group is grounded in the ARCHEWORKS model of public interest design. Our approach and methods incorporate cross-disciplinary thinking, human-centered participatory design, iterative prototyping, and community engagement.


Early conversations were guided by two key questions:


How can we identify and map – in both broad and granular ways – sets of interconnected issues to help us understand large urban systems and the opportunities they provide?


How can we build upon the strengths and assets of our current systems, enhance the work of innovators and help accelerate the progress of community based organizations?”


Both of these questions seek to explore the important relationship between social networks and the supporting infrastructure that are involved in city building – in short, the relationship between structure and agency.

Our People

Project Director

Andrew Balster is a Chicago-based leader operating in the fields of architecture, urbanism, public policy, sociology and academia. Andrew joined ARCHEWORKS as Executive Director in February 2015.


Strategic Partnerships Advisor

Susanne Schnell is an entrepreneurial leader who develops urban design and civic partnerships to support community development, health and wellness and cultural stewardship. She served as Executive Director of ARCHEWORKS from 2009 to 2013.


Artistic Director

Odile Compagnon is an architect and a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She brought to Chicago, 18 years ago, her experience of 15 years, facilitating public workshops, designing public buildings, planning urban developments in Central France.



Michele L. Larimer brings over a decade of leadership experience in community outreach, planning and implementation. She holds dual masters in Urban Design and Urban and Regional Planning combined with proven skills as a leader in nonprofits and small businesses.



Hennie Reynders is an architect, urban researcher and Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited and lectured in the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, South Africa and the United States.


Nilay Mistry is a landscape architect and urban designer with Site Design Group. Nilay holds degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Design and University of Illinois. His ongoing research has led to numerous community involvement and construction initiatives in the USA, Asia and Africa.


Thomas Chiu is a 3D designer currently working as an exhibit and interpretive designer at Bluestone + Associates. He graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Interior Architecture.

Program Administrator, ARCHEWORKS

Hilary Gabel manages admissions, marketing and communications and general operations for ARCHEWORKS’ postgraduate design education programs.


Urban, Industrial & Graphic Design and Technology Advisors

Benet Haller is Principal Advisor of Planning and Urban Design with the the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

Kevin Henry is a product and interaction designer, educator, and author. He is Associate Professor, Product Design, Art and Design at Columbia College.

Kate Keleman is a public engagement specialist and exhibitions planner who previously worked for the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Kindy Kruller is Senior Planner at the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Paul Baker is an IT programmer and the CEO of Webitects in Chicago.

Mark Barry manages capital project data and controls for Chicago Public Schools.


Advisory Board

Cyd Smillie, President ARTS ALIVE CHICAGO! and Community Arts Manager, Officer of Alderman John Arena, 47th Ward

Jennifer Nykaza, Senior Analyst at Pepsi Co.

Lee Diamond, Realtor at Big Shoulder Realty

Frank Suerth, Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association

Brian Nadig, Nadig Newspapers Inc.

George Karzas, Owner, Gale Street Inn

Vesna Rabb, Paschke Art Center

Tony Passero, Artist, Owner, Tribe Agency



Northwest Chicago Historical Society

Aldermanic Ward Office – 45th Ward

Forest Glen Community Club

City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Society of Architectural Historians