Since 2014, Sweet Water Foundation has offered unique sequences of urban acupuncture-like interventions that actively re-story and re-construct a neighborhood located at the nexus of Englewood and Washington Park, two communities on Chicago’s South Side that have endured decades of disinvestment. SWF’s work is a direct response to the everyday chaos of economic hardships, violence, perpetual poverty, and systemic racism that pervades these communities.
In just 5 years, the SWF team and community has designed and built The Commons which now spans 4 contiguous city blocks, a dynamic model of Regenerative Neighborhood Development.
The Commons has successfully reintroduced and redefined agriculture within the city limits as a practice central to the revitalization of the neighborhood, transformed formerly foreclosed and abandoned houses into community schools and live-work residences, introduced new agricultural building typologies into the urban fabric, and remixed programming into a 21st-century context through the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development. Most importantly, The Commons has become an inclusive and vibrant place for artists of color to engage with their community in the co-creation of culturally relevant, local, and transformative art. The Commons provides a creative and healing outlet for residents of all ages and produces spaces, objects, and experiences that are intentionally designed to transform the community and reflect an aesthetic of inclusion and hope.
SWEET WATER ACADEMY
Sweet Water Academy is a neighborhood development and urban ecology academy that inspires, trains, connects, and catalyzes individuals and organizations to build/rebuild communities and reconnect people to one another and the Earth via the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development.
The Sweet Water Academy campus is located at The Commons, which provides Academy apprentices and fellows with an endless supply of experiential learning opportunities that bring the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development (RND) to life via hands-on and experiential lessons, projects, workshops, and programs for youth, educators, and practitioners of all ages and disciplines.
Marketplace @ the commons
The Marketplace @ The Commons is an emerging social enterprise incubator and marketplace for eco-logical goods and services. Sweet Water Foundation cultivates and curates local artists, makers, and youth by providing spaces to create, training & workshops, and collaborative markets. In 2020, SWF intends to launch a monthly handmade and eco-logical market that will provide emerging artists and entrepreneurs with an accessible launch pad.