2nd Place | Komensky Park by Christopher Mena

Grade: 12th

In the neighborhood of West Lawn in south Chicago, there are lines dividing areas not by neighborhoods or street lines, but by gang lines. Many parks in the region are territory for nearby gangs, and many are in-between. I see families out in the parks with their child on a tight leash, metaphorically. It seems that taking a child to the park has become a chore, not an enjoyable activity. You might ask “what then are parks good for?” The answer to that is the same reason parks exist, to expose our children, as well as ourselves, to open space, fresh air and to have fun. Thankfully we have come up with a solution to multiple problems. It’s called a pocket park, the park that meets the requirement of a park, is small and compact to help promote public interaction within neighbors, and is very convenient within distance for residential areas.

I see a strong need for a pocket park in my earlier mentioned neighborhood, West Lawn. This park includes everything from open space for play, to a relaxing environment to read or talk. This pocket park will encourage the neighborhood to get out of the house and interact with each other, as well to better the community and enrich the area.