Enter Chad Rochkind — the founder of Human Scale Studios.
I was lucky to get the opportunity to chat with Chad last week. When brainstorming questions to ask, my mind flashed back to one of the first team meetings Joe and I attended at Human Scale Studios. Donning his signature look —an open button-down shirt with a plain tee underneath and classic denim jeans— Chad drew out a 3’’ x 5’’book out of his pocket. It was the Tao Te Ching. He then paraphrased his favorite quote to start the meeting:
“A leader is best
When people barely know he exists
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, “We did this ourselves.””
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
In the end, what Chad found most rewarding about the project was the process of creation, the public’s repose throughout, and how the parklet was received. Although the parklet was removed, the idea of what could have been and just the short-term benefit that the community experienced was enough for Chad. The feeling of a people-centered community had been revitalized on Michigan Avenue through one event.
Overall, I’d describe Chad as a leader, visionary and idealist. I was lucky to get the chance to interview such an inspirational and creative futurist, and I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone like it. To sum up the interview, I asked Chad whether he ended up where he imagined he would be. To this, he responded:
“I’d say, I’m happy with myself… I’m happy with what I’ve brought to the table”