WBEZ | Dear Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/dear-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Dear Chicago: Secure space for artists to live and work http://www.wbez.org/story/art/dear-chicago-secure-space-artists-live-and-work <p><br> <div id="PictoBrowser120123131621">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "505", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: Secure space for artists to live and work"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628999149651"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "top"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "68"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123131621"); </script><p>This October the <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/">Museum of Contemporary Art</a> celebrates the 10th anniversary of its <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/12x12.php"><em>12x12</em></a> series. The monthly show features up-and-coming Chicago artists, most of whom have never before exhibited in a museum.</p><div>While planning the next batch of shows, Chief Curator Michael Darling noticed a disturbing trend: As he surveyed the one hundred artists who had shown work in the series, he realized that between 20 and 30 percent of them no longer live in Chicago. “I’ve noticed a general pattern of brain drain of the city’s best and brightest artists,” says Darling. “It’s worrisome.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are many reasons artists choose to leave Chicago or leave the profession, but among them is real estate. Many artists say they can’t secure the kind of space they need to work, at a price they can afford.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The city of Chicago has tried stepping in. Among other things, it’s created <a href="http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/dance/node/26786">special zoning designations</a> for artists who want to live and work in the same space. Still, there are restrictions, so many artists choose to live and work below the legal radar in large commercial or industrial spaces.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This has been the case for <a href="http://analogyshop.com/analogy%20shop%20home.html">Conrad Freiburg</a>, a sculptor who studied at the Art Institute and stayed in Chicago after graduation. In the last several years he has lived and worked in a succession of spaces all over town, each of which he lost or was forced to leave.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In this installment of <em>Dear Chicago</em> Freiburg argues why his situation is an economic hazard the city should fix.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Conrad Freiburg was nominated for the series by the <a href="http://www.hydeparkart.org/">Hyde Park Art Center</a>, where he is an artist-in-residence.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Robert Miles, "Deep End", from the CD Thirteen, (Salt records)</em></p></p> Mon, 31 Jan 2011 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/art/dear-chicago-secure-space-artists-live-and-work Dear Chicago: Let’s clean up the Chicago River http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_8610.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>To say that fishing is the central passion of Don Dubin&rsquo;s life might be an understatement. The Chicago native grew up fishing in public parks on the city&rsquo;s West Side. Now in his 70s and a Legendary Angler inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, you can regularly find him casting his reel along the lakefront or on the banks of the Chicago River.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 16:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river Dear Chicago: Let’s clean up the Chicago River http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river-passionate-fisherman%E2%80%99s-appeal-next-mayor <p><br> <div id="PictoBrowser120123135820">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "648", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: Let's clean up the Chicago River"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628998802785"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "-16"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "65"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123135820"); </script><p>To say that fishing is the central passion of Don Dubin’s life might be an understatement. The Chicago native spent his boyhood fishing in public parks on the city’s West Side. As an adult, he was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Now Dubin is in his 70s and you can still find him casting his reel along the lakefront or on the banks of the Chicago River.</p><p>Dubin worries about the health of Chicago’s waterways, especially as the conversation about re-reversing the Chicago River <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/home-page-top-stories/change-rivers-flow-considered-stop-carp">gets more attention</a>. The river was severely polluted long before former Mayor Richard J. Daley proposed the goal of making it swimmable and fishable in the 1970s. In June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/daley-epa-go-swim-potomac">made the same recommendation</a> in a letter sent to the state. The current Mayor Daley reacted angrily to the suggestion, telling federal officials to “go swim in the Potomac.”</p><p>Chicago’s lakefront has 26 miles of parkland with many points of public access, but the city’s riverfront is mostly undeveloped. Dubin hopes Chicago’s next mayor will tend to the health of the Chicago River, and help turn the central waterway from an undervalued resource into a clean, accessible public amenity.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Dear Chicago,<br> I’ve been fishing ever since I was a little boy. I started out when my grandfather used to take me to Chicago parks like Douglas Park and Garfield Park. And I was just fascinated to see the little fish swimming around. And I thought, jeez, if I could catch one that would be great. And then one day I did catch one! It was a minnow. I put my hand in the water and tried to corral him. I got a little piece of string with a little hook and used Wonder Bread for bait. And I did get that little minnow and I put him in a little Dixie cup and took him home and put him in a little glass fish bowl and watched him for quite a while. That’s how I started.<br> &nbsp;<br> I try to get out at least twice a week. Sometimes I get out to the Chicago lakefront just to see what’s happening. On the North Side, just east of Von Steuben High School, I go fishing in Ronan Park. It’s where the North Branch of the river converges with the North Shore Channel. There’s a little waterfall there and it’s a great place for fishing. You have a lot of oxygen there and a little current and the fish congregate there.<br> &nbsp;<br> There are all kinds of fish in the river: bass, northern pike, croppies, blue gills, sun fish, carp, and catfish. I’ve even seen trout and salmon in the river. When I was a kid I used to go to Ronan Park because I lived in Albany Park, and there was nothing there. It was just terrible. And now there are fish there and there are people fishing there. There’s no question that it’s absolutely, positively, much, much better.<br> &nbsp;<br> So it’s better but not good enough. I would not eat the fish. It’s strictly a catch and release fishery. It could be cleaned up so it’s a much better environment.<br> &nbsp;<br> To improve the quality of the river the first thing you’d have to do is improve the quality of the waste water going into the river. When the original Mayor Daley made his statement about wanting the river to be swimmable and fishable, at the time it wasn’t even thinkable that you could be fishing in an area like the Chicago River. It was an open sewer. The sewer water would go into the sewage treatment plant and get dumped into the river.<br> &nbsp;<br> You got to realize that if you asked me what the most valuable resource in the entire world is, it’s got to be fresh, clean water. But the sewage treatment plants that we have do not do as good a job of cleaning up the water as they could be. All across the world and the country there are sewage plants that clean the water and the final stage is very clean. So it could be cleaned up and it should be cleaned up. It’s not as dirty as it was; we have made improvements on the river. But I’d like to see us go two steps further and make it the jewel of the Chicagoland area.<br> &nbsp;<br> If the next mayor wants to re-reverse the Chicago River, I would support it if they cleaned up the water where it’s clean enough there are no harmful pathogens in the water. If they did a dredging job on the existing muck on the bottom of there, and made park land and accessibility, I would definitely support it.<br> &nbsp;<br> There are not too many places to fish along the river until you get downtown. When they dug the river there was no access on either side. It was just like a channel. And the banks on either side of the river are very steep and covered with all kinds of vegetation. I’d like to see the shoreline improved so there’s accessibility. More public parking and more parks along the way, maybe we can even have boat access for canoes and small boats. And really make it into a first class fishery, and a place where people can enjoy the river like I do.<br> &nbsp;<br> Access is the key to fishing the Chicago River. It’s almost like it hasn’t been discovered, and I sure would like to see it be discovered and made into something valuable. Just think if that area was developed into park land. It would improve property values and give people a place to go to see wildlife, the birds and the animals that enjoy the river. Right now there are plans to improve the lakefront at Northerly Island, to make it into a wildlife sanctuary. The same could be done to the Chicago River! It runs right through where people are living. It could be done. It would improve Chicago for all the people.</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Don Dubin was nominated for the series by <a href="http://www.metroplanning.org/index.html">Metropolitan Planning Council</a>.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river-passionate-fisherman%E2%80%99s-appeal-next-mayor Dear Chicago: We need a place to live http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-we-need-place-live <p> <br/> <div id="PictoBrowser120123141222"></div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "519", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: We need a place to live"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628999223459"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "top"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "47"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123141222"); </script> <p>It’s estimated that over forty-thousand households in Chicago are headed by grandparents who have taken responsibility for raising their grandchildren. 61-year-old Joyce Jackson is part of that legion. The mother of four has twelve grandchildren, four of whom she’s raised herself: 21-year-old Jamie, 19-year-old Jamal, 18-year-old Mario and 16-year-old Keosha.</p><div>Securing affordable housing is difficult for many Chicago residents but it is often more so for families headed by grandparents. Many of them are retired or are on a fixed income. Senior housing designed for low-income adults is rarely suitable for families with children.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 2009 Jackson found an apartment in Coppin House, a 54-unit building just west of Washington Park, developed jointly between a variety of non-profit and government entities, including the City of Chicago. Gladys Jordan, Director of Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, says the city’s contribution to the project included selling the land on which Coppin House sits to the developer for a single dollar. It also issued $8.3 million in tax-exempt bonds and $679,000 in 4% low-income housing tax credits.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The building was designed specifically for families headed by grandparents or other adult relatives, and for young adults phasing out of the foster care system. Coppin House is one of only a few buildings in the city designed with this purpose in mind, so demand for units far outstrips supply. According to Gladys Jordan, every time they open the waiting list for spots at Coppin House, “Literally, thousands of families apply.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Dear Chicago, </em></div><div><em>I’ve had my granddaughter Jamie since she was born. I was 40 when she was born, and it changed my life drastically. Her mother was my youngest child and she had went away to school and I had just become an empty nester, so I was thinking this was the time I was getting ready to live, you know, do some things for myself and live life for me. But I loved Jamie, so I adjusted to that. But then it went from one grandchild to three and then to four. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Jamie’s mother, my daughter Daphne, suffered with depression. She moved out and then she had the two boys, Mario and Jamal, and the next girl, Keosha. And she didn’t tell me she couldn’t take care of her children; she just showed me. It had gotten to the point where the children were being left home alone. I knew they were being neglected. The two boys started calling me, saying, “Grandma, we don’t have anything to eat.” I said, well, I may as well have the children if I’m going to be running back and forth trying to make sure they have what they need to wear, trying to make sure everything’s going right in school for them. And down through the years Daphne never one time asked me if she could have her children, you know, “Mama, I’m ready to take care of my children.” </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>I didn’t think it would be permanent. I thought she would get better, but she didn’t. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>It was very hard. People told me I should just let them go into the [foster care] system and then they’ll give them back to you, but I loved my grandchildren and I didn’t want to see them out of my home for even one day.</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>We had a real nice house in the suburb of South Holland, Illinois--a three-bedroom house with three bathrooms and a full, finished basement. There was plenty of room for us. But they were out there in the suburbs and I was working in the city, and I was just so upset with them coming home in the house alone. So, I decided to resign from my job and do home daycare professionally so I could be home with them.</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>At first it went really well. We were paying the bills and, as a matter of fac,t I was making more money doing day care than I was working at my old job. But it got to the point where a lot of people started getting laid off from their jobs and people didn’t have the money for childcare. I couldn’t continue to pay the house note and the utilities, so I lost the house to foreclosure. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>We moved into the city with my sister. But it was really tight. She was already living in a five-bedroom apartment with her friend and my granddaughter, Keosha. It was just too many people in one house. We weren’t getting along, and the boys wound up having to sleep on an enclosed back porch that wasn’t heated. We were really trying to find someplace else to go but I still didn’t have the income to find a place. We got to the point where we really felt like we were going to end up homeless. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Then my daughter-in-law brought me a form from the Chicago Department of Aging. They asked me what I needed, and I checked housing. So eventually about six months later they did call me and told me about Coppin House. My heart was glad and I was like, oh God, I want one of those apartments! But you still needed money to move in. It wasn’t free: I also needed $980 for the security deposit. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Then the Lord sent Grand Families [Program of Chicago] in our life! The Department of Aging hooked me up with Grand Families. I was over to the office one day and the director asked me to come in her office and so I came in and she said, “We’re going to give you the money to get the apartment.”</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>I started crying and praising God. We had already gone and looked at the apartments and they were just heaven for us. It was just like a weight lifted off of my heart. And I said God this is it, you have done it, now we have a place of our own again. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Now we have been here almost two years and I love being here and it’s working out for me well. The only problem I have with it--and I still thank God because he has provided for me for these two years--but it is hard for me to pay the rent. Usually every month I’m relying on my other three grown children to help me pay the rent, but it’s getting hard for them, too, because they each have families. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>My appeal would be to build more of this kind of housing that is affordable for grandparents. There are so many grandparents that are going through the struggle and need decent housing. And I’m not the only grandparent in here that’s really struggling to pay the rent. I just met a grandmother that just got seven grandchildren. Seven! And last time I talked to her she was trying to find housing because she was getting ready to be evicted.</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>I’m grateful for what the city did. Mayor Daley came to the grand opening of Coppin House. He came in and cut the ribbon and said he was glad we were so happy for this housing and he was going to put it on the agenda for more. And I’m kind of sad he’s leaving. Really, I am, because I’m hoping the next person coming in has that same mind. </em></div><div><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Joyce Jackson was nominated for the series by <a href="http://communitymediaworkshop.org/training/">Community Media Workshop</a>.</p></div></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-we-need-place-live Dear Chicago: We need a place to live http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/dear-chicago-we-need-place-live <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Joyce_2045.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s estimated that over forty-thousand households in Chicago are headed by grandparents who have taken responsibility for raising their grandchildren. 61-year-old Joyce Jackson is part of that legion. The mother of four has twelve grandchildren, four of whom she&rsquo;s raised herself: 21-year-old Jamie, 19-year-old Jamal, 18-year-old Mario and 16-year-old Keosha.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/dear-chicago-we-need-place-live Dear Chicago: Fix our neighborhood schools http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-public-schools/dear-chicago-fix-our-neighborhood-schools <p> <br/> <div id="PictoBrowser120123143443"></div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "505", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: Fix our neighborhood schools"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628999249757"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "top"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "56"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123143443"); </script> <p>Lakeesha Harris and her domestic partner, Janean Watkins, combined their families more than a decade ago. Since then they’ve struggled to secure a good education for their six children, who range in age from 11 to 18.</p><div>They live in Garfield Park but their neighborhood public school, Beidler Elementary, had not met standards of adequate yearly progress. Harris says the kids were bullied and had to “fight their way to and from school every day.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Harris and Watkins faced two bad options: They could keep their kids in failing neighborhood schools, or they could send the children to better schools that were scattered across the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We hear what path they chose and why they’re asking Chicago’s new mayor to fix each and every school in the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Lakeesha Harris was nominated for the series by <a href="http://www.neiu.edu/Home/">Northeastern Illinois University</a>.</div></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-public-schools/dear-chicago-fix-our-neighborhood-schools Dear Chicago: Fill empty lots http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/dear-chicago-fill-empty-lots <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Darmika_0436.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When 23-year-old Darmika Ford looks out her home window, she imagines a community garden brimming with flowers, produce and community cooperation, but what she actually sees is nothing like that vision. Instead, she sees a vacant lot. Ford estimates there are at least 40 such lots in her West Garfield Park neighborhood, but her community is not alone; the City of Chicago website lists over 13,000 city-owned vacant land properties for sale. Ford has created sketches of how some of these places could be transformed into community gardens.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/dear-chicago-fill-empty-lots Dear Chicago: Fill empty lots http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-architecture-foundation/dear-chicago-fill-empty-lots <p><br> <div id="PictoBrowser120123142208">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "530", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: From empty space to space where we come together"); so.addVariable("userName", "Chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628999236987"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "top"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "68"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123142208"); </script><div>When 23-year-old Darmika Ford looks out her home window, she imagines a community garden brimming with flowers, produce and community cooperation, but what she actually sees is nothing like that vision. Instead, she sees a vacant lot. Ford estimates there are at least 40 such lots in her West Garfield Park neighborhood, but her community is not alone; the City of Chicago website lists over 13,000 city-owned vacant land properties for sale. Ford has created sketches of how some of these places could be transformed into community gardens.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A graduate of Illinois State University, Ford was born and raised in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood and lives there today. She works for an organization called Public Allies, an apprenticeship program that sends young adults to work as community service leaders at non profit institutions. Public Allies placed Ford at the Gary Comer Youth Center, which is well known for its striking community rooftop garden. That garden sets a high standard that Ford admires and hopes to see repeated with Chicago’s vacant lots.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Dear Chicago,</em></div><div><em>I would like the new mayor to address the excessive vacancies in overlooked communities in the City of Chicago.This issue has an effect on what comes into this community and what goes out of it. If the lots are not being kept, it makes it appear as if the community is not being kept. I believe that turning these vacant lots over to the communities would increase community pride and cooperation, and you would see more positives because things are getting done. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>For example, one day I was in a car, and we were riding past Madison and Pulaski. I saw residents creating their own Christmas tree inside a vacant lot with little decorations. It was so cute! They had a table with bags and it looked like they had hot chocolate. And that just represents the people that live here, because it’s some great people that live here. And I said: “See? We make small use of what we got.”</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Residents could use these vacant lots as outlets for things like neighborhood artwork, murals, decorative colorful benches, and outdoor sculptures. These types of activities would be valuable in uplifting neighborhoods’ cultural existence and increasing the growth and service of these neighborhoods.</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>Residents could use these lots for creating community-driven gardens that plant seeds of community pride and demonstrate what each of these communities represents.</em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>I’ve been doing community gardening since 2009, when I finished college. And what I remember about that experience is that it taught the residents responsibility and accountability. I saw a change in their attitude towards working together. </em></div><div><em>&nbsp;</em></div><div><em>I believe that communities as a whole will change. A lot of people will take more initiative in trying to work together to keep their neighborhoods clean and healthy. Community gardens don’t always have to be a place for producing food. They could just be community beautification spaces, where people can go to read and relax and not have to go outside their community. Everyone that was employed at the community gardens I have worked at were from that particular community. There are people in these areas that love their communities and are willing to improve it. </em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Darmika Ford was nominated for the series by <a href="http://caf.architecture.org/">Chicago Architecture Foundation</a>.</div></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 18:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-architecture-foundation/dear-chicago-fill-empty-lots