Englewood Residents Sought for Project to Gather Info on Neighborhood

By Wendell Hutson on March 13, 2014 7:52am 

Slideshow
 A collaboration between the Resident Association of Greater Englewood and the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design will interview Englewood residents about what it is like to live in the South Side community and then give them a $25 Visa gift card for their participation.
Englewood Interviews
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ENGLEWOOD — A collaboration between the Resident Association of Greater Englewood and the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design seeks to gather daily life experiences from residents to create a report identifying needs of the community.

As an incentive, residents will receive a $25 Visa gift card after completing a 1½-hour in-person interview, said Amanda Geppert, an adjunct professor with the Institute of Design.

"We don't want to exclude anyone, so youths could also participate as long as their parents consent to it," Geppert said. "The goal here is to interview a variety of residents and find out how they spend their time as an Englewood resident."

Interested residents should contact organizers to be pre-screened at 708-613-0452, or email project.publicspace@gmail.com before March 31, when the three-month project will end.

A report based on the interviews is expected to be completed by mid-April and shared at a workshop, said Geppert, a Logan Square resident who said she would "love to live in Englewood."

IIT's Institute of Design is a graduate school that aims to use design methods to come up with solutions for social innovation, and RAGE is a community group that strategizes to address community problems, create tangible solutions and seeks ways to keep residents informed about the latest news in Englewood.

This is not the first time the group has worked with IIT, said Asiaha Butler, president of the group.

"RAGE had a partnership with [the institute] last year, and we had did a whole bunch of creative things around civic engagement," Butler said. "The basis of the project is really around school repurposing. We want to know what activities are people partaking in that they have to leave the community and through that we can possibly start having some more dialogue about it."

Butler said the interview would focus on activities residents engage in, from going to a play to roller skating. After residents are prescreened, they're interviewed by a team member at a mutually decided upon location, such as a library.

During the interview, residents will be shown a map to allow them to show the places they go for activities. Upon completion of the interview, a resident is given a gift card.

While Englewood no longer has it own movie theater, a Whole Foods store is slated to open in 2016. In November the sit-down restaurant Kusanya Cafe opened.

"Englewood is a wonderful place to live, and hopefully this project will help people understand the hearts and minds of Englewood residents," Geppert said.

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