Brand Urbanism

Chicago Church Becomes Basketball Sanctuary For The Masses

Nike transformed the Church of the Epiphany in Chicago into a full-equipped basketball training space for the local high-school teams. The temporary Just Do It HQ facilities play on the cities almost religious relationship with the sport. The training space comes with activities, aimed at inspiring Chicago’s youth.

Inside the transformed church you’ll find a basketball court, locker rooms, a sports gym and even an infinity video booth for post-game debriefings. Open for the month of August this year, the church offers a variety of activities such as interactive youth workshops, elite basketball training, and school clinics.

Chicago Sky players sharing their experiences of becoming professional athletes in the WNBA.

The sermons are held by pro athletes, instead of priests. In the opening speech Chicago Bulls legend, Scottie Pippen, preached about the importance of discipline and dreams, with Nike’s new “what’s your crazy dream” slogan portraying this message on the wall of the hallway.

Created in partnership with the local community, these kinds of projects are aimed at serving both. The Just Do It HQ is yet another example of brand urbanism by Nike, where the brand gets to create vibrant public spaces for the city. While the city gets to enjoy additional financing and physical upgrading by the brand, the brand gets to interact with the community and its following in a more personal way.

However, their influence isn’t just local as the brand usually attracts media attention, gaining international exposure and goodwill. With brands increasingly allocating their marketing budgets to brand urbanism, it tells something about the effectiveness of this strategy. However, it raises questions about the future of our cities.

The church existing architecture, elements and colors were highlighted in order to create an aspirational training and game space.

Pop-Up City has dwelled on this question that raises both enthusiasm and concerns. Check out this sports court by an architecture firm in Mexico City for example.

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Brand Urbanism

A growing number of consumer brands are investing in the city, working together with cities to find solutions for urban issues. In a time of austerity, brand urbanism provides local governments with more possibilities in realizing ambitious projects, while giving brands a one-off opportunity to show their involvement in and responsibility for the city.

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