Aug 28th 2020

Emmanuel Pratt on Sweet Water Foundation and Community-Driven Design

On Wednesday, September 2, the College of Architecture will host a virtual lecture with Emmanuel Pratt, an urban designer, MacArthur Fellow, and co-founder of Sweet Water Foundation.

Founded in 2009, Sweet Water integrates design, education, and agriculture into a community-driven approach to community development in areas of Chicago that have suffered from disinvestment. Through the years, Sweet Water has transformed abandoned buildings and lots in South Side neighborhoods into spaces for community gardens, as well as spaces for education and mentorship programs.

Most notably, the Sweet Water team and community has designed and built a dynamic site known as The Commonwealth, which now spans four contiguous city blocks. The Commonwealth includes approximately three acres of urban farms, a large community garden, five vacant parcels transformed into a park used for weekly Farmers Markets, two formerly foreclosed homes transformed into community and educational spaces (Think-Do House and [Re]Construction House), a greenhouse converted into a woodshop, a shipping container converted into a learning laboratory and greenhouse, and a timber frame pavilion that serves as an outdoor performing arts and community space known as the Thought Barn.

Pratt’s lecture will focus on Sweet Water’s work in Chicago and how its grassroots design ethos in neglected neighborhoods can provide meaningful opportunities for their residents. The lecture, which begins at 5 p.m., is accessible via Zoom (use the passcode: 368349).