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Blurred and Proud - A Neighborhoods Project

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Problem

Neighborhoods are some of our proudest city assets. Yet their borders can be used to do more harm than good. Gerrymandering is used for political gain. Globally, countries and their political borders often create division rather than healthy nationalism. How might we aim to show that most borders don't make much sense when it comes to community identity.

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Proposal

This project asks Chicagoans to draw the edges of a neighborhood they know well.

We'll visually show how realistically blurred the boundaries really are. Nothing is black & white and there are no wrong answers.

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Research

Chicago is proud of being a "city of neighborhoods." But everyone has different definitions of where their beloved neighborhood begins and ends.

Some neighborhoods are called different names by different people. And the City of Chicago doesn't even recognize some of our favorite neighborhoods as official community areas. Our ward boundaries don't do the greatest job representing its citizens. Neither do our congressional districts.

  • Political borders are important for administration, but how can they better reflect changing communities and demographics?
  • How can we better define our neighborhoods to encourage flow between them to share our cultures?
  • Borders help us locate ourselves in the city and rally in neighborhood pride - so can they be more inclusive at the time?
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Experiment

We started at coffeeshops with a sign, some paper, and a marker.

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We want to know - what is YOUR definition of your Chicago neighborhood?

Please contact us about how to get involved.