Spring 2019 4 Thursdays – 497-412: Red Line Extension Project: Enabling Community Engagement & Neighborhood Development

Meeting Days/Time
Thursdays from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
William Briggs (CAEE) (wbriggs@iit.edu) in consultation with Steve Beck (Undergraduate Education – with expertise in architecture) (sbeck.creo@gmail.com)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome.
In collaboration with the Red Line Extension Coalition, the Red Line Extension Round Table and the 95th Street Panel of Development

In the southern region of Chicago, there is a project called the Redline Extension. This project offers an extension of the CTA Redline from the 95th Street station to include stations at 103rd Street, the Medical District on 111th Street, the 115th Street Business District and 130th Street. The Red Line Extension project is estimated to be completed by 2026; however, the 95th Street Station is due to be completed at the end of 2018 with the extension to 103rd and Egleston Street Station to follow soon after.

Surrounding the proposed stations are several abandoned homes, buildings and vacant lots. These properties are wasted and are sometimes used for criminal activities by children looking to make money selling drugs and a hang-out for gangs and squatters looking to live free. This causes problems with people in the community who want to maintain their property and keep the neighborhood safe. These vacant properties normally sit and decay until the property values decrease to 60 to 80 percent of their worth and are later torn down leaving vacant lots that are not maintained.

The Greater Roseland Community will be effected by this change. Therefore, the CTA, politicians, and the Greater Roseland Community (GRC) leaders and other stakeholders are now involved with the future development of the GRC surrounding the Red Line extension. One of these organizations is called the Red Line Extension Coalition (RLEC). RLEC has taken the initiative in bringing all stakeholders together into one group now called “The Red Line Extension Round Table.” We have also partnered with other organizations in the area. The problem is that there is not enough compiled information on the area for investors to use when considering the area.

The objectives of the IPRO team for spring 2019 are to assist the RLEC in:

  1. Continue development of an interactive map of the Greater Roseland Community.
  2. Work with Transit Orientated Development (TOD) in designing and beautifying the GRC business/shopping district.
  3. Promote a safe-haven for adults, youth, and adolescents within the community that is developed by securing the area.

The three objectives are intertwined, with the model/interactive map providing a focal point for community and external stakeholder conversation, planning and action.

The scale of the Red Line Extension project has made it difficult for stakeholders to imagine the scope of the work planned for the Greater Roseland Community. The model that is the focus of the fall 2018 IPRO team will continue to be developed to effectively communicate how investors and politicians can improve a community through redevelopment. The model will also clearly identify the problem areas and how they can be secured with cameras and other forms of policing in an effort to create a safe-haven for all that live, work, worship and/or visit the Greater Roseland Community.

Model details would include abandon buildings, empty lots, homes and businesses that are successful and stressed. With this model, we hope to identify and put a spotlight on areas that need to be improved, designate property that can be included in Roseland, upgrade the properties that are in the area and show how Roseland can be improved. We further hope to depict the Redline extension and how it will affect the Greater Roseland community. The design of the model is being developed with input from the community, the CTA and other stakeholders to make sure that it can be a useful and lasting tool and focus for discussion, decision making and updating. Once completed, it is our goal to share this model with politicians and investors willing to invest in the greater Roseland Community.

This project offers an exceptional opportunity for students from a variety of disciplines to research, think about, plan, prototype and deliver a model that stimulates community and investment decision making. It will offer a challenging but rewarding opportunity to enhance communication skills through observation, critical thinking and user-centered design.

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