Earlier this year I volunteered with a Neighbors Project (see blogroll in right column) project in Lakeview and asked a dozen or so people milling around Lakeview some questions designed to get a feel for what they identified with the neighborhood.
What do you identify with Milwaukee Avenue? [Update: Reader/ commenter/blogger The Urbanophile rightly illuminates that I should be more specific, so let’s say Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, or if you dare to drill down even more, the 2600 and 2700 blocks — just let us know in the comments section what level of specificity you’re talking about.] Or — more generally — what do you identify with Logan Square? Here are some questions to consider (if you live outside of Chicago, consider the questions for your own neighborhood):
- What’s the most memorable thing you’ve seen or done on Milwaukee Avenue? in Logan Square?
- What one word best sums up Milwaukee Avenue? Logan Square? why?
- What makes Milwaukee Avenue different than other streets in Logan Square?
- What makes Logan Square different than other Chicago neighborhoods?
- What landmark or street most captures Logan Square? why?
Can it work at the neighborhood level? Mention Around the Coyote, and where did you place it (until this year)? Can it work at an even smaller scale, like a street or a district (without an obvious location identifying name)? Like the Pride Parade?
(I confess, I had not until last week heard of the Idea Festival. It was brought to my attention by The Urbanophile [see blogroll in right column] in Kris Kimel gets it, and the comments there are worth a gander. The founder says they’re still working toward their goal of being the preeminent event in the world for innovation [see video below], so I don’t feel too much out of the loop.)
There’s something to be said of branding a street, a district, a neighborhood like you would any other product, but there’s potential to go too far. I, for one, do not want Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Square to be seen as just one thing. But I do want people to positively identify with the commercial corridor and the neighborhood. (Lately I keep hearing of the neighborhood associated with “hipsters,” and I haven’t decided if that’s positive or not!)
Milwaukee Avenue/Logan Square identity
These thoughts on identity have come to the fore recently with readings and inquiries, begging the questions: What would Milwaukee Avenue’s identity be? What should it be? What would Logan Square’s be? What should it be?
To motivate your thoughts, I leave you with some suggestions on “Pursuing Big Ideas” that came out of this year’s Idea Festival as reported by The New York Times:
- Think when you are not thinking, for example, on a run or walk.
- Listen to classical music, go to a concert or a play or sit quietly in a park to daydream.
- Surround yourself with creative thinkers.
- Immerse yourself in a problem; ask questions, investigate possible outcomes.
- Keep an idea journal.
- Be curious and experiment.
- Articulate your idea, seek feedback, put structure on it, harvest it.
Especially take that last one to heart and articulate your idea here. Ask a couple of your neighbors to as well. I’m eager to get some discussion going here to shape Milwaukee Avenue.
Sulzen Fine Art Studio
Bazaar Holiday Show: opening reception Friday, December 5, from
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; show and sale continues Saturday and Sunday, December 6 & 7, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at 2720 W. St. Georges Court
N.A.I.L.S. Holiday Art
Sale and Show: Saturday,
December 6, from
1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., at
2328 N. Milwaukee Ave.,