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Depave Chicago and The Montessori School of Englewood

Chicago, United States


Depave Chicago and The Montessori School of Englewood are partnered on the first pilot project for this emerging community-based depaving program in Chicago. The project involves depaving 10,000 SF of the school’s primary playground and transforming it into a green, living schoolyard. Depave Chicago is part of a larger international network of organizations focused on depaving parking lots and asphalt playgrounds in disinvested communities where improving ecological well-being is essential for community regeneration and quality of life. TMSOE (an elementary-middle charter school in West Englewood) is undertaking this project to create a safe, healthy, and life-affirming environment for its students and teachers and a space that signals care and future-building within the broader community. The DepaveChicago/TMSOE partnership is an opportunity to dialog with city agencies and organizational leaders about urban adaptation, community engagement, and urgently-needed transformation of the paved urban environment. Depave Chicago is financially supported by the Walder Foundation to host webinars, trainings, equipment purchasing, and design and engineering services for the pilot project. The Depave Chicago program organizational start-up is guided by Depave in Portland, Oregon, the first established depaving organization in the USA. Dozens of volunteers across Chicago have reached out to get involved in the planning and depaving for this pivotal site.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview

Depave Chicago + The Montessori School of Englewood

Depave Chicago and The Montessori School of Englewood (TMSOE)  are working together to undertake a 10,000-square-foot project  on TMSOE’s South Side campus. The project embodies practices of  codesign and future-building focused on depaving (replacing  impermeable surfaces with green space and natural materials) and  remaking urban land as a space for critical reflection and direct  action on the built environment in our communities. TMSOE,  a nonprofit charter school of 350 kindergarten through eighth  grade students, teaches the Montessori method of child-centered  education and hands-on learning, with a focus on empowerment  and healing of trauma. Together, Depave Chicago, TMSOE, and  dozens of volunteers from across the city, will learn how to depave the  site together in a two-day event, then undertake several weeks of  planting, gathering, ecological and creative education, and renewal.  The project is a live demonstration of coproduction that expands the  regenerative and liberatory capacity of rebuilding land in our schools  and communities. 

Drawing by: Mary Pat McGuire, Bowen Dong, Vidhan Goel, Wendy Wang, in  partnership with TMSOE teachers and staff: Maggie Mikuzis, Rita Nolan, La Kiesha  Dunn, Jonathan Howell, Vicki Bowens, Tina Rush, Vicky Coleman-Cox, Ebonie  Townsend, Lynetta Denson, Caleb Wagner, Candice Rogers, and TMSOE students:  Kahmani Hester, Armani McLaurin, Jade Nutall, Jazmynn Thomas, Brandon Littleton,  Alexander Jones, Melany Renderos, Asia Starling, Leah White, Trinity Crockett, and  Ceonna Black


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Chicago Cultural Center


78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL


The Loop


The Chicago Cultural Center serves as one of the main exhibition venue sites for CAB 5, featuring projects from more than 80 participants from ten countries. 

Opened in 1897, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark building operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is home to free cultural exhibits and programming year-round.

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
The City is the Site