My last post, Active Design to Promote Physical Activity and Health Through Design, ended with a rallying cry to architects to get involved. Instead of hanging our heads about the lack of work and the downward pressure on fees, we need to become more active in local government, start at the neighborhood level, and get a cause to champion. If we want to be leaders we need to take action.
So in the great tradition of Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock this will be the first post in a series documenting the journey to engage my 38th Ward Alderman, Timothy Cullerton, in a Design based community project co-sponsored by UrbDeZine and my firm, baselab.
My initial thought is that it would be great to get a neighborhood recycling drop-off in the area. Chicago is one of the largest cities in America with a very poor recycling record. Most Chicagoans are familiar with the failed Blue Bag program that cost millions of dollars and had single digit recycling rates. In 2008 the city started the Blue Cart program for a limited amount of residents and is now thinking of privatizing that program. For more on this visit the Chicago Recycling Coalition website.
Another idea was to engage a local school or classroom in a community based project. For example, my son is in fifth grade at O.A. Thorp, a Chicago Public School. With the support of the Alderman’s office we could create a classroom-based project for his class to design and implement.
There is momentum in the 38th Ward, we have a new Alderman for the first time since 1993 and Chicago has a new Mayor for the first time since 1989. I am looking forward to seeing where this can go and reporting back on the progress. Suggestions are welcome, leave a comment. Stay tuned….