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Live at the ICA - FAQs
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Intentional Community at ICA GreenRise

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) has been involved with community development initiatives locally in Chicago and globally for nearly fifty years. The organization is a registered nonprofit with the mission to "build a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth through empowering cultural dimensions of the social process.” The ICA is uniquely positioned in the nonprofit world because it owns a large eight story building in Chicago’s diverse Uptown neighborhood. The building is made up of several other nonprofit tenants as well as one residential living floor.

The ICA has created an intentional community, made up of individuals who want to live simply and are committed to a green and sustainable lifestyle. The goal is to find a diverse array of residents to help create a community that will benefit everyone.

 How much does it cost?

A benefit to community life is that it lends to a more affordable lifestyle than having to furnish and rent an entire apartment space. The building offers a wide range of room sizes, in addition to rooms that accommodate roommates and couples.

There is a base fee of $220 (single) or $350 (roommates) per month in addition to a charge of $1.10 per square foot of a room. Rent also covers use of all the communal spaces (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, lounge areas, meeting rooms, and all utilities-heat, electricity, etc.) For example our smallest apartment (150 sq. ft.) for a single bed will cost $220 + (150 sq. ft. * $1.10) = $385 per month.

In addition to the various housing options there are common areas throughout the seventh floor where residents often gather to watch TV, relax, or chat with others and enjoy the company of living in an intentional community.



Frequently Asked Questions

What does "intentional community” mean?
Intentional Community is an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision.

Is there an age requirement for living within the building?
The Institute encourages individuals 20 years of age and older to live within the building. Accommodations may be made for special requests.

Is there a security deposit?
There is a non-refundable application fee of $100 to cover the costs of processing the paperwork necessary for residents to live in the building.

How long is a lease for?
Leases are typically a year long. Accommodations are made for shorter and longer requests, and the lease can be broken with a 30 day written notice.

What types of payments are accepted?
Check, credit card and cash are all acceptable forms of payment. Rent is due on the 1st of every month, and late after the 5th, with a 3% of the total rent as a late fee charge.

Is there a way to see more pictures of the building?
There is a flickr page with photos of the building, including views of the different sizes of rooms available. Please visit:

Is there cable and Wi-Fi available?
Currently, some rooms are cable ready, but residents have to pay for access on their own. RCN is the building provider for wireless internet and cable connections. Yes, there is Wi-Fi and there are also areas on the 6th floor and other common spaces that Wi-Fi is currently available.

How big are the rooms?
One of the charms of the GreenRise building is that no two things are exactly the same - including the rooms! There are different room sizes ranging from 150 square feet to 440 square feet. Naturally, pricing is based on the size of the room. There are singles, doubles, and some rooms that could accommodate up to three people.

Is the ICA accessible by public transportation?
YES! ICA is located just two blocks from the CTA Red Line, and the 151 Sheridan and 81 Lawrence buses run right outside the front doors of the building. In addition to excellent access to public transport, Lake Shore Drive is just two blocks away, as is a lake front bike and running path that spans more than 20 miles across the city.

Is there parking available?
Depending on availability, parking is available on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. The costs are:
Daily - $7.50, Monthly - $90, Yearly - $890. 

What is the Uptown neighborhood like?
Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is known for its rich and vibrant diversity, as well as formally being Chicago’s entertainment district. Uptown is currently home to numerous music venues, nightclubs, restaurants and shops. Uptown Square, at the center of the Uptown Entertainment District, was designated as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The ICA is located just two blocks from both the lake and Uptown Square. For more information on Uptown, you can visit:,_Chicago.

How is the kitchen set up?
Currently residents share a kitchen on the 6th floor of the building. Residents have refrigerator space, and are welcome to use all the equipment in the kitchen to prepare their meals.

How are the bathrooms set up?
One of the items shared with others within this community will be bathroom space. There are separate men’s and women’s facilities and there are 5 stalls, sinks, and showers in each bathroom.

Is there a washer and dryer?
There are two washers and dryers on the seventh floor. The washer is coin operated and it's free to dry. 

What is security like in the building?
The ICA GreenRise building values a secure space for both its tenants and residents. There is someone at the front desk 24 hours a day. The front doors of the building are locked at 8:00pm, and residents and tenants must be buzzed in through the front door. There are special elevator codes for the residential floors.

What are the rules for guests of residents?
For long term guests of residents, we offer a guest bedroom that can be rented as needed. For less formal visits, the resident is responsible for their guests while they are in the building. One of the key foundations of making an intentional community work is respect for others you share the space with; it is of utmost importance that this respect be reflected in those who are invited into the community living space.

Are pets allowed?
Yes! ICA is already home to furry friends.

Have more questions or want to request a room? Fill in the form below!