Published: August 13, 2014

Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit Profile: Pilsen

Mario Longoni, Lead Environmental Social Scientist, Keller Science Action Center


-- This is a working project page. Below you will find information and tools related to the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit project.  --

Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit Profile: Pilsen 


  1. Transform an empty lot into a climate-friendly community garden and play area for young children
  2. Use the community garden as a demonstration site to educate children, their families, and community members about native plants, climate-friendly landscaping and other activities
  3. Develop workshops and bike tours that use the garden as a platform for climate-friendly education and activities

THE STRATEGY: Use Field Museum Research, the City's Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP) and the Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Plan for Nature (CAPN) as roadmaps for community-based climate action.

THE PLAYERS: El Hogar del Nino, Casa Michoacan, P.E.R.R.O., and The Field Museum's Science Action Center.

THEIR STORY: Pilsen community organizers are working to bring an educational green space to the heart of their neighborhood. The team comprises of cultural, educational and activist leaders who are combining concerns of climate change and the health of their environment with the cultural heritage of Pilsen to develop a site that can be used for nature-play, demonstration, community climate workshops and bike tours in a way that will strengthen the lives of young people and immigrant families. The project also offers a public health model for outdoor play and nature-based recreation. The garden will provide a demonstration site for learning about environmentally friendly practices, and for sharing information about how local GHG emissions relate to health. It also offers a space for young people to learn about climate change through structured programming and play opportunities.

The space is designed to include Mexican mural art and incorporates cultural practices such as water conservation and the reuse and recycling of materials.

The design also hopes to attract the culturally significant Monarch butterfly to the neighborhood by planting native plants, such as Milkweed, into the garden’s plant beds.

This project helps community members to:

  1. Learn about environmentally friendly practices, and become knowledgeable about how local greenhouse gas emissions relate to health
  2. Come together in a space where they can learn about climate change through structured programming and play opportunities
  3. Understand what they can do to help mitigate the effects of climate change through culturally and community specific models

TAKE ACTION:  See what How-to Guides have been created by these partners. Here you will find links to more resources and step-by-step guides you can use in your own project! As the project progresses, more tools will be added to this section. (coming soon)

See how the project is coming along (flickr)

About this project: The project provides community organizations from the Bronzeville, Pilsen, South Chicago, and Forest Glen neighborhoods with financial and technical support to create tools for engaging their residents in programs that address both climate change and neighborhood concerns.



Mario Longoni
Lead Environmental Social Scientist, Keller Science Action Center

Mario is the Urban Anthropology Manager in the Keller Science Action Center. Whether conducting social research in and around Chicago, collaborating to create culturally based programming, or helping community organizations increase their capacity, Mario works from a central tenant of cultural anthropology that communities possess the knowledge and capacity they need to address most challenges. His work focus on drawing out these cultural assets to improve regional quality-of-life.