Text of article
“Depave Chicago Joins National Movement to Reclaim Paradise From Parking Lots: ‘It’s Really About a Transformation’”
WTTN | Patty Wetli | August 24, 2022 12:45 pm
“A grassroots “depaving” movement that originated in Portland, Oregon, is slowly spreading across the country, with communities ripping up strips of asphalt and concrete to make way for pocket parks, gardens and nature play spaces. Affiliates of Depave Portland have popped up in cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Nashville, forming a loose network that is now being joined by Chicago.
“At Water Lab, we’ve always worked on stormwater issues and urban flooding. Depave Chicago kind of emerged out of that,” McGuire said. “While we’re working at a planning and policy level around making green infrastructure much more the norm in Chicago, we really needed a program that says, ‘Hey, we need to take out some asphalt.’”
McGuire and the Depave Chicago team have spent 2022 in start-up mode: spreading the word about the program, growing support, connecting with community leaders and organizations, and hosting webinars to explain how depaving works.
Participation is open to anyone who’s interested, just sign up at depavechicago.org.
“This is also a year of deep listening,” McGuire said. “I’m learning so much more not just about issues but also about how communities want to work with a program like this. It’s critical to have a lot of buy-in and a lot of direct input from residents so that whatever goes in place of the paving really addresses the issues they’re facing.”
All of this groundwork is building toward a spring 2023 pilot project, still to be determined, which will be funded through a grant from the Walder Foundation, a Skokie-based philanthropy that supports environmental sustainability through its Resilient by Nature program.
“A year from now I hope I can say, ‘Yeah, we’ve done our first project and we’re onto the next, we have two more in the pipeline,’” McGuire said.
To read more, click here.
For an interactive map showing locations of pavement in Chicago and Cook County, visit https://www.thewaterlab.org/Depave-Chicago.