Over the summer, Shadelab, a project of Landon Bone Baker Architects provided a group of young adults from Humboldt Park the opportunity to initiate change in their neighborhood through environmental assessment studies, community asset mapping and community service/design projects. Working with residents as well as experts, the interns extensively recorded temperature, air quality, energy efficiency and noise levels around Humboldt Park. By overlaying this data with the mapping of the physical assets, nature, social life and stories, it is possible to identify improvements to the design of the buildings and neighborhood for increased energy efficiency, comfort and sociability. Shadelab has plans to continue nurturing the “seed” for creating model green neighborhoods while empowering young adults with the knowledge and professional skills to positively change their communities.
The interns focused their research around Borinquen Bella, a 47-unit affordable housing development that LBBA’s client LUCHA has plans to rehabilitate. LUCHA also connected the interns with tenants for interviews. The information provided by Shadelab will be used to influence LUCHA’s plans for the rehabilitation and for future affordable housing developments. LUCHA’s interest in this partnership stems from its goal to provide healthier, safer and more energy efficient living conditions for its tenants.
With MCIC’s project grant, the Shadelab project can have city-wide impact. The information will be used to brainstorm new models for community and affordable housing development. The interns will present the information and their recommendations for changes to Alderman Maldonado, LUCHA, community groups, and the City of Chicago. This is a unique opportunity to share the information gathered to improve neighborhood conditions and quality of life throughout the city of Chicago.