Perry Ave Commons


Sweet Water Foundation’s flagship site, known as the Perry Ave Commons, challenges the standard reductive formula of gentrification, which seeks to gain short-term return on investment without regard to the longer-term sociological and ecological implications to the urban ecology, including people.  The resulting aesthetics of gentrification reflect the process of erasure, amnesia and forced-forgetting of the culture that once defined the community.  Through Regenerative Placemaking, the Perry Ave Commons, instead, offers an inclusive, art-inspired and agriculture-fed approach to neighborhood development, creating an aesthetic of inclusion and remembering married to the concepts of repurposing, re-imagining, and re-storying. 


Spaces at Perry Ave Commons

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The Think-Do House is formerly foreclosed home the stood vacant from its construction in 2007 until Sweet Water Foundation gained access in 2014. With sweat equity, the home was transformed into a community hub that hosts educational collaborations, community meetings, workshops, retreats, and cooking demos. The Think-Do House has been featured in Chicago Ideas Week, Chicago Artists Month and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.


Once the site of the Moseley School, an . The Perry Avenue Community Farm occupies a full city block and boasts more than 210 rows of vegetables. Sweet Water Foundation began farming the site in May 2014 after it sat dormant for more than a year.  The abandoned site is now a vibrant, 2 acre farm employing local residents, building community, and feeding more than 200 residents weekly. 


To facilitate the growth of the carpentry work of the Apprenticeship & Outreach Program, Sweet Water Foundation built a custom, multipurpose greenhouse in Spring 2017 to serve as a classroom, workshop and makerspace. 


The Think-Do Pod is a unique learn + grow space designed by the Sweet Water Foundation team from a discarded commercial shipping container that once transported grape juice concentrate in Argentina. Modeled after a shipping container greenhouse in Belgium, the Think-Do Pod consists of an educational and inspirational gallery space on the lower level and greenhouse with traditional and hydroponic growbeds on top.

Life on the Perry Ave Commons