Author: Bliss W. Browne
Chicago, IL United States
Annotation: IMAGINE CHICAGO is a non-profit organization, created in 1992, and dedicated to cultivating hope and civic commitment. It enlists young people, and others who want to make a difference, to bring to light the experience, hopes, and aspirations of Chicago’s citizens and to act on that imagination in ways that benefit individuals, communities, and the city as a whole. This work is done in partnership with local organizations– schools, churches, community groups, cultural institutions– and serves as the catalyst to encourage people to think about themselves as creators of the city’s future, and to form communities in which that future can be created and the ownership of that future shared.
This case study focuses on a citywide interview process involved approximately 50 young people who interviewed about 140 Chicago citizens who were recognized by members of IMAGINE CHICAGO’s design team as “Chicago glue”. These included artists, media executives, civic and grassroots leaders, politicians, business and professional leaders, and other young people. The interviewees represented over half of Chicago’s neighborhoods. Young people were principally recruited from the Chicago Area Project, the Chicago Cluster Initiative, Public Allies, candidates known to the Urban Teacher Corps, and various local schools. Some young people became involved through the involvement of their friends.
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