ICA USA explores underutilized community spaces along Uptown’s coast

On August 29th, 2017, ICA USA and the Uptown Coastal Initiative hosted the third installment of the Out and About Uptown’s Coast series, Underutilized Community Spaces.

The night started with a conversation about community spaces that we use in our daily lives. By comparing more utilized spaces, such as parks and libraries, with lesser utilized spaces, public roadways and dark skies, the group noted that our assessment of space utility was dependent on whether or not people were using it. Spaces such as beehives and sand dunes provide utility to plants, insects, and animals, but the benefit of these spaces isn’t always recognized from a human-centric perspective.

Representatives from Uptown Coastal Initiative, Full Moon Fire Jam, and Chicago Astronomical Society/International Dark Skies Association shared historical and present day perspectives on activating common space in Uptown. Following the presentations, the group took a coastal walk that highlighted creatively used community spaces, the Leland Greenway, the Lincoln Park Honeybee Grove, and a community drum circle associated with the Full Moon Fire Jam. The night ended with stargazing; the group was able to view Saturn and the Moon through a telescope.

Attendees were excited to learn about new ways to engage with communities and spaces in Uptown. One person remarked on how through the experience of the event, the spots along the tour were transformed from places to meaningful community spaces. This comment indicated that the series is successfully changing people’s images about accessing the coastal zone.

The Out & About Uptown’s Coast series aims to raise awareness of Uptown’s lakefront and parks through nine experiential, educational sessions that offer attendees rich opportunity for meaningful engagement with the ecology and culture of this Great Lakes coastal community. See ICA-USA’s website for more information about the series.

This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, September 2017.