La Esquinita

LocationLittle VillageBuiltIn ProgressClientLittle Village Residents, NeighborSpace

“Jardin Malinalli transformed into a green space where residents could just enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the health benefits of being surrounded by plants and art”

- Vanessa Sanchez, Yollocalli Director


La Esquinita is a vacant lot in Little Village that has been subjected to fly dumping and used as an informal parking lot throughout the years. To combat this, the community’s alderman installed bollards along the perimeter and planted trees to discourage the illegal use of the lot. For many years, residents envisioned a multifunctional and accessible space that could serve various community programs. Now transitioning into a NeighborSpace garden, we’ve been asked to help with formalizing the design.


  • Design a masterplan for the garden that includes multifunctional spaces
  • Develop the identity of the space while highlighting the culture of Little Village
  • Repurpose existing materials found on site
  • Use artwork to promote the identity of the space


La Esquinita is a corner vacant lot that has been empty for over 30 years in the Little Village neighborhood. Little Village has a rich cultural and demographic history with various groups calling it home over time. Prior to 1833, the area was first used by indigenous people as a connection point between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Then German, Irish, and various Eastern European immigrant communities settled there after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Currently, the neighborhood has a large Mexican and Latino population. At the block level, we learned that residents have spoken about re-establishing Club Renacimiento (Club Rebirth), which was a community group that organized cultural events (block parties and posadas) and community enhancement activities (street cleaning days).






  • A stage for performances, workshops and meetings
  • Raised planter and flower beds
  • Wheelchair and ADA accessible spaces/paths throughout the garden
  • Nature play area for children
  • Food truck area

In partnership with