Today in my "Urban Activation: Englewood" studio, we presented a first draft of our research. Right now we have four different research groups: history, demographics, mapping/zoning, and future planned developments. I'm a part of the demographics group, focusing on the education and also the analysis of all our collective demographic data. We presented information to one of our IIT librarians who is a research specialist. She helped us fill some gaps in our research and we'll be meeting with her to make sure we find as much data as we possibly can to help fuel our design project.
Most of my education data is straight from the web and I really want to dig deeper and make sure my numbers are correct. I also need to take this data and make qualitative conclusions of the collective information. I first began with some basic education statistics in Englewood. Most residents are high school graduates and 8% of the residents completed a bachelor's degree or higher, which is 26% lower than the city of Chicago.
Vacant schools are something I keep bringing up in my discussion with my studiomates. Something wonderful can be done with these buildings. I attended a CPS elementary school and a CPS high school. I was always intrigued by the architecture of both buildings. They're beautiful spaces and shouldn't be sitting there with no purpose except that of vandalization and crime. Check out these stats I found through Catalyst Chicago. Most of the CPS schools have no plans for them!
I love how residents of Englewood have ideas for the CPS schools that have been shut down. Asiaha Butler, for example, has an idea for one of the schools to become an agriculture education center. I wonder what ideas other people have about these schools. I really think something exciting could become of these buildings!
“I’m thinking this back part could be like a little rest stop area, where people riding their bikes up on the trail can come down and learn about the community,” Butler says, describing a dream as she sweeps her hand toward a thicket of woods growing over the property boundary. “We also see a lot of opportunity for this to be a kind of urban agriculture education center, for farmers or for tourists—if you want to start an urban farm, you can come here and learn the basics.”
— Asiaha Butler
Activist looking for new uses for CPS schools in Englewood
Just as a disclaimer, this is research I found online and was not created by me. I only put the graphs together for a quick overview. My next goal is to dive deeper and find more data about Englewood and make sure my numbers are as correct as they can possibly be. My studio is collecting a variety of data and is also creating a physical model of Englewood with all of our research represented through various layers on the model. From there, we will draw some conclusions of how all of the data relates. We're also looking into shrinking neighborhoods and how we can create proposals for activating a specific part of Englewood, the Halsted Street corridor. Englewood is amazing and has an insane amount of potential. I look forward to coming up with possible framework ideas with my studiomates.