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Chicago’s armour Square Community Resource Study

Stephanie Salinas

A comprehensive study of the neighborhood schools, restaurants and social services to provide insight for community goals. Includes a community vision to promote local agriculture.

quired to maintain proposed programs. They could provide oversight as well as volunteers for work as well as clean-up days. These organizations would have working examples of green technology practices within their neighborhood to teach to those interested.


Armour Square is a neighborhood center with an abundance of resources. There are a number of organizations that provide education as well as social service resources to the Asian population that make up a majority of the community demographics. An inventory of Armour Square’s resources allows us to assess the potential for our proposed programs to provide for these resources and vice versa. It is important that the proposal work with what resources are available in order to enhance the community aspect of the neighborhood. An inventory of community resources might allow us to make connections and build networks between proposed programs and existing resources to ensure the resilliance of both. We also inventoried Armour Square’s social and religious organizations, such as community organizations and churches, with the assumption that they would be interested in working with proposed programs for educational as well as recreational purposes. Proposed programs could bring an educational component to existing services provided by organizations. Social organizations might also provide the work that would be re-

We also wanted to account for Armour Sqaure’s abundant cultural features to draw from for inspiration. Proposed programs designed in response to these cultural features would enhance the culture of the neighborhood. Armour Sqaure has a rich Asian culture with its unique practices and aesthetics to draw from. Integrating green technologies with existing cultural features will highlight Armour Square’s sustainable efforts. With agriculture playing a significant role in our project proposal, an inventory of Armour Square’s restaurants might provide insight as to the types of crops the community garden might grow to accomodate these local businesses. There could be a real opportunity to create a self-sustaining program that produces a mojrity of the community’s produce.


Community Resources

Community Resource Analysis

Chinese American Service League 2141 S. Tan Court, Chicago, IL 60616

Chamber of Commerce 2169 S. China Place Chicago, IL 60616 Source:


Chinese Community Center 250 West 22nd Place, Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Enlightenment Temple 2249 S. Wentworth Ave. Source: IBFAContact.html

Pui Tak Center 2216 S. Wentworth Ave. Source:

Saint Therese Catholic Church 218 West Alexander Street, Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Chicago Public Library 2353 South Wentworth Avenue 60616 Source:

US Post Office 2345 South Wentworth Avenue

Another prominent social organization is the Chinese Community Center. The organization offers a number of classes covering Chinese Language, food sanitation, driver’s license written tests in Chinese, English, and dance. The center also offers a free health clinic, an annual health fair, flu shots, translation services, ID/Driver License Renewal Services, Dinner Program for the elderly youth volunteer services and hosts social and cultural events throughout the year. The Community Center also serves as a Human service outpost where residents can apply for public aid, medical care, food stamps, public housing, or social security benefits. Saint Therese Catholic Church is another social organization that accomodates the Asian demographic of Armour Square. They offer mass in Chinese and English. There are distinct Asian architectural influences in the church, ranging from dragon sculpture to red banners. The Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, located in Armour Square, also seeks to attractm, promote and market Chinatown businesses. They host a number of different events with Asian themes, such as the Annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy and Chinatown Summer Movies and Concerts in Ping Tom Park. They also form partnerships with other Asian American organizations to offer education and development assistancce.

Community Resources

Social Services & Places of Worship

One major social organization in Armour Square is the Pui Tak Center. The organization is housed in Armour Square’s historic On Leong Merchants Association Building with a prominent location in Chinatown’s commercial district. The organization provides a number of services, including Adult ESL classes, child education and well-being services, summer youth programs, youth internships and apprenticeships, service learning opportunties, computer classes, private music tutoring, as well as immigrant services and counseling.

Chinese American Veteran’s Memorial

Chinatown Square

2169 S. Archer Ave.

2100 S. Wentworth Ave


Chinese American Museum of Chicago 238 W 23rd St, Chicago, IL 60616 Source:


Nine Dragon Wall 170 W. Cermak Rd. source:

Chinatown Gate Cermak Rd. & Wentworth Ave. Source:

Chinatown Sqaure is a prominent source of cultural features, with a number of Asian cuisine venues and specialty shops. There are also businesses that offer services in Chinese. There are also distinvt Asian architectural influences in the Chinatown Square.

Hoypoloi Gallery 2235 S Wentworth Ave Chicago!/media/set/?set=a .154956798802.118038.153557053802&type=3

Andrew Foster Tribute Marker Pershing & Wentworth Ave. 60609 Source:

US Cellular Field 333 W 35th Street

Many of these cultural features are located in the Northern end of Armour Square, along Cermak and Wentworth Avenue. There is however, a major potential to draw US Cellular Field visitors to the Northern end. The two ends have a prominent corridor link along Wentworth Avenue. There are a number of businesses located along this corridor, and a street beautifica-

Community Resources

Cultural Features

Armour Sqaure, otherwise known as Chinatown, is a culturally vibrant neighborhood of Chicago. Because of its prominence as a cultural hub for Asian cuisine and goods, it is a major tourist attraction. Tourism and the revenues generated by visitors to the neighborhood accounts for more than half of the neighborhoods total revenue. Because the neighborhood has a high concentration of Chicago’s Asian population, there are distinct Asian architectural influences in Armour Square. There are a memorials, monuments and buildings designed in an Asian fashion that celebrate Asian culture and heritage. They include the Nince Dragon Wall, the Chinatown Gate, Chinatown Square, the Chinese American veteran’s Memorial and the Chinese American Museum of Chicago.


Chi Cafe 2160 S Archer Ave Chicago, IL 60616 Source: html

Community Resources

An inventory of Armour Square’s restaurants was taken to provide insight as to the types of crops the community garden might grow. These crops can be grown for personal consumption as well as for local businesses. There is a wide range of food venues, ranging from Chinese to Italian to breweries. Possible crop varieties include hops, peppers, leeks, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, parsley, carrots and lettuce. Spring World 2109- S China Pl Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Ricobene’s 252 W 26th St Chicago, IL 60616




Source: ricobenes

Empreor’s Choice 2238 S Wentworth Ave Chicago, IL 60616 Source: chicago-emperor-s-choice-photo

Carbon 300 W 26th St Chicago, IL 60616





Bacardi at the Park 320 w. 35th St Chicago, IL 60616 Source: chicago-bacardi-at-the-park-photo

Turtle’s Bar & Grill 3258 S. Wells Chicago, IL 60616 Source: Source:



St. Therese Chinese Catholic School 218 W. Alexander Street Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

There are a number of schools within Armour Square. Many of them have a large Asian demogaphic and have Asian architectural influences. An inventory of Armour Square schools could provide insight as to which schools Perspectives Charter School might be potential partners for agricultural programs. 1930 South Archer Avenue, These schools could work in cooperation with community Chicago, IL 60616 gardens to teach children the value of agriculture. Schools, like the Pui Tak Christian school, could link the chef program offered through the Pui Tak center to the neighborhood schools. One of the more prominent schools is Haines elementary, located in the heart of the Chinatown neighborhood. It could offer agriculture day camps to elementary school children during harvest months. National Teachers Elementary Academy Source: 13599699/Perspectives%20Charter%20School

55 West Cermak Road, Chicago, IL 60616 Source: =galleryDetail&catID=10&itemID=7

Illinois Institute of Technology 3300 S Federal Street, Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Haines Elementary School 247 W 23rd Pl Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Pui Tak Christian School 2301 South Wentworth Avenue Chicago, IL 60616 Source:

Abott Elementary School 3630 S Wells St, Chicago, IL 60609 Source:

Youth Connection Charter Schools Admin 10 W 35th St # 11F4-2, Chicago, IL 60616

There is also potential for a community garden to provide service learning opportunities to high school students. A participating school can include Perspectives Charter High School. The school is focused on the sciences, which could use a community garden as a working example of everyday science.

Community Resources


Strategy 1 Accomodate Armour Square’s Asian agricultural needs through community gardening endeavors

and a strong community culture, we aim to make Armour Square more community and culture oriented by growing produce that is specific to their cuisine.

1.1 Enhance the role of community members as neighborhood agriculturists A large volume of elderly and families enjoy passive recreational activities, such as sitting, walking and people watching. They often frequent community parks or take strolls to the market to socialize. With strong ties to the community, families and elders are most likely to engage in community agriculture activities, as it is a form of both passive recreation and a social pracTwo farmers pick strawberries in a community greenhouse to be transported for Spring Festival Market tice. Enhance the role of community memsupply, China. Jaz. 19, 2010. Source: bers as neighborhood agriculturists can be achieved by: - Develop a partenerhsip between agricul Armour Square is a neighborhood with a ture programs and senior housing units in dominant Asian community. There is a Chinatown. strong emphasis on family, education, respect for the elderly and food in Asian cul- - Design community garden agriculture ture. A large volume of elderly frequent the programs for child participation Chinatown Square, where one can find inumerable restaurants, markets and specialty 1.2 Expand social services to include agricultural education food distributers. Many Asian entrees include fresh produce items, such as shitake Armour Square has a number of social orgamushroom, broccoli, carrots, green onion, nizations that offer services that specifically tackle issues that face the Asian immigrant radish, cucumber, celery cabbage, garlic, mint, cilantro, and lettuce, to name a few. population. These organizations include the Chinese American Service League, the Pui With vibrant community involvement con- Tak Center and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. Many immigrants within the cerned with expansion of social services

community arrice with pre-existing agricultural skill sets. Offering programs that utilize these resources would provide a great asset to those with limited education and resources. Partnerships between agricultural programs and these organiztions can occur by: - Expanding the American Service League’s chef program to include education on small scale agricultural practices - Offer farming education and a community garden plot as a part of immigrant services offered through the Pui Tak Center - The establishment of a farmer’s market in cooperation with the community gardens and the Chamber of Commerce to be located in Chinatown Square 1.3 Promote partnersips between community gardens and local businesses There is a major opportunity for community gardening endeavors to accomodate local business needs for produce. In doing so, these partnerships will ensure the community’s vitality and resilliance as a self-sustaining neighborhood. These partnerships can take place between: - Community gardens and restaurants - Self-sustaining restaurant roof top gardens - Community gardens and local pubs - Community gardens and individual growers


Community Vision

Stephanie Salinas BA Landscape Architecture

Chicago's Armour Square Resource Study & Master Plan Goals