Emily Schiffer will partner with the Center for Urban Transformation and the Magnum Foundation to engage residents of Chicago’s South Side to transform neglected buildings and vacant lots into sustainable, locally-owned community developments. Schiffer’s urban revitalization project, See Potential, will accelerate and strengthen four ongoing campaigns in the Bronzeville and Englewood neighborhoods. The first is the transformation of an abandoned corner storefront into a vibrant family-oriented venue, “Bronzeville Cookin’,” with healthy restaurants, a rooftop garden, produce store, outdoor market, and bicycle servicing shop. The second campaign is to rehabilitate The Forum, now a boarded up and vacant building, into a contemporary performing arts center and retail space for locally owned, healthy restaurants and bookstores. A third project will be to support the physical expansion of the Bronzeville Community Garden and its programming that engages residents on issues of food, nutrition, and health. And lastly, See Potential will assist in the opening of the Kusanya Café, a high-quality coffee establishment that also seeks to become a gathering space for community programming as well as an artistic outlet for youth and adults.
See Potential will design banners using professional photography and specific campaign text and place them at each site. Residents will be able to text the number on each banner to learn more about the project and exactly how they can participate to make the campaign successful. Schiffer and her partners’ goals are to engage community members, local entrepreneurs, and community leaders in envisioning and realizing the transformation of their public space.