ARBOR DAY 2013
It’s that time of year to give our trees a hug and help new ones start a life in a new home. There are lots of trees going on sale right now that need to be adopted by YOU. There are many benefits to planting trees - they are part of our green infrastructure - so why not get plantin’ today?!!
Make sure to check out some of Dave Hampton Jr.’s latest writings on what is going on in Haiti… Visit our Facebook page for links
April 26, 2013
Happy Earth Day to you and yours!!! Plant a radish? Plant a tree?? Take some action today and tell people about it.
April 22, 2013
This week we lost a great human. Paolo Soleri had a long career that influenced thought throughout the architecture and ecological design world. We shall miss him.
please visit for more information:
April 12, 2013
World Water Day
Are you ready for water day??? Water is so very important and so many people on this planet are struggling to meet their need for this resource World water day is March 22nd and we’ll be having a lecture at Budlong Woods Library - On Wednesday March 20th, 5630 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659- on water issues at 630p-730p. “Like” us on Facebook to RSVP.
March 18, 2013
A Day at Lake and Kedzie
The UHC team was taking advantage of the slightly warmer but cloudy weather this Saturday at Lake and Kedzie to apply biogenic cellulosic aggregate with the Garfield Park Community Council. The Garfield Park Community Council “strengthens, promotes, and encourages opportunities that support an engaged, equitable, and vital Garfield Park neighborhood” - and one piece of that work is at Lake and Kedzie. Students from the Green LUNGS program participate in the beautification and revegetation of the site during the program time and have been fortunate to plant hundreds of plants as a part of this community effort. Thank you to” the team”
March 9, 2013
Frozen Compost Doesn't Stop UHC!
We are moving into Spring, but we’re not quite there yet… Volunteers at Northside Prep High School worked very hard to chip away at a compost bin’s tough exterior of frozen compost to get to the yummy center. This particular pile is a “high carbon” or “cold pile” designed to deal with nutrient cycling using fungi and soil invertebrates. The material was being transferred to another bin to finish the process.
After the pile maintenance was complete, the team moved onto the ever so rewarding task of harvesting Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus).
March 4, 2013
A Busy Year So Far
The UHC team has been busyt From workshops and lectures, to a community design charette, the chill in the air hasn’t slowed us down. UHC is preparing for a VERY busy spring and we hope you can be a part of it all.
February 25, 2013
Our Green LUNGS 5th Avenue Garden receives Award
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness honored the Green Lungs Program 5th Avenue Garden with the 2012 Conservation and Native Landscaping Award: Certificate of Merit. We are so proud of the work that our students, instructors, and volunteers are doing at the site.
December 11, 2012
Check out New Photos!
Fresh veggies at Armitage Community Garden
We have uploaded new photos of recent community garden days, the accelerate 77 fair, and PARKing Day! Check them out here
October 8, 2012
Great Lakes Bioneers Conference
Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago is hosting its first annual conference in November with local, regional and international visionaries and innovators discussing position solutions guided by nature! The conference runs from November 2-4 and will include workshops and presentations concerning environmental and social justice. Register here and visit their website
September 29, 2012
Blacktop Goes Green
Thanks to all who came out for PARKing Day! We were not deterred by the rain and had a wonderful time turning this blacktop green! Stay tuned for more pictures.
September 22, 2012
PARKing Day, accelerate 77 AND workshops!
It’s going to be a great September with lots of great events to learn about UHC and sustainability! We will be hosting a booth at the accelerate 77 Share Fair, participating in PARKing Day, and our UHCi 102: Intro to Organic Farming Workshop series will be starting up again this month. Check out more info on our events page.
September 6, 2012
New Blog Post from a UHC Intern
Check out this blog post from one our interns, Brittany Hoover, about the Grub Club program she participated in this summer. Read it here
September 4, 2012
All in a summer's work- UHC Intern blog updates, Lukens Volunteer Day Article
Three new posts from our summer interns about their wonderful work at Northside: growing, greening, building, and inspiring others! Read and view the photos of it all here. Also check out Lukens’ article about their Year of Service group volunteer day with us here They were so inspired, they want to volunteer back at home in Virginia, too! Thank you, Lukens, best of luck to you!
August 12, 2012
Farm news from Manuch!
Get the inside view on farm life from Manuch: ex-Northside student Dirt Actualizer, and current UHC field intern. Read his blog about his personal work on the Malcolm Wells Garden here
August 1, 2012
Green LUNGS and UHC on ABC!
The Green LUNGS program at Marshall Metropolitan High School was featured on abc 7 this past week. Kudos to the students and those who have made this wonderful program happen! Check out the story here
July 28, 2012
Friday the 13th srikes again! Film postponed.
Our Apologies-Mike Repkin was scheduled to speak tonight on Urban Agriculture in Chicago, at the “Andersonville Green Week” screening of Urban Roots at the Swedish Museum. Unfortunately, this event will be postponed to July 27th due to lack of the film.
July 13, 2012
Advanced Farming Workshop and Urban Mental Health Conference
We will be offering an advanced farming workshop on July 28! Topics to include crop selection, watering, and temperature regulation. To register and learn more go here.
Also, a former UHC lecturer, Lynn Todman, passed along some information about The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward Conference being held in September. The conference will focus on how to create cities that promote the mental health and well-being of their residents. To learn more and for registration information, go here.
July 11, 2012
UHC will be participating in the WNBA’s Go Green Night July 6. Come see as at our table and see the Chicago Sky play the New York Liberty. We will also be participating in Eco-Andersonville’s Green Week. Learn more about these events here
July 5, 2012
Learn how to be an organic farmer!
We are offering our Intro to Organic Farming Workshops again this July! This will be a two-day intensive series taking place on July 21 and July 22. If the longer series is a tough commitment for you, but you still want to learn how to be an organic farmer, this is workshop was made for you. For more info and to register go here.
July 2, 2012
This summer we’re letting you in on our secrets! UHC’s field Interns will be sharing their personal experiences with you regularly on our blog. Check out the first post from Annie Clontz, and stay tuned for more!
June 28, 2012
Students Busy Growing with Cooking Matters Gardening Program
Students at John Hay Elementary and Price Elementary have been busy this spring and summer growing vegetables through the Cooking Matters Gardening Program. The Cooking Matters program helps teach students about urban agriculture including planting, bed construction, and gardening instruction. Check out more photos here
June 25, 2012
Construction Begins on New Stair for Rooftop Recovery Garden
Condemned Stair being removed to make way
As part of Sunlight for the Spirit’s green buiding project, a new staircase is currently in the works! This will provide recovery residents safe access to their units and outdoor green space. The sustainable staircase and porch were designed by architect Juan Tellez. Great work team! contact us if you want to help - immediate construction volunteers needed!
June 18, 2012
Join us for Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum's BIKES Exhibit!
Come join UHC’s Seth Herr at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s BIKES exhibit. Whether you’re an avid biker, or just finished dusting your bike off now that the weather is warm, this exhibit has something for you. There will be lots of great info on basic bike maintenance and repair, how to treat a bike, and how to choose a bike. Click here for more info. Hope to see you there!
June 4, 2012
UHCi Intro to Organic Farming June-July Series Now Open for Registration
We are offering our UHCi 102: Intro to Organic Farming series again starting on June 16 running through July 7. This course series provides participants with the knowledge, skill and ability to grow basic food, fuel and fiber crops. We would love to have you! Read more and register here
May 21, 2012
UHC celebrates Malcolm Wells with bushes for Schools and Community groups
May 14th was Underground America Day, a celebration of the architect who inspired UHC’s founders in their mission to create harmony between the natural and built environment.
In honor of Malcolm Wells, UHC donated 2000 inkberry bushes to schools and registered community groups in need. You can read about these attractive evergreen shrubs here. Native to eastern swampy forests, they prefer moist, acidic soil and tolerate sun and shade. Be sure to plant them in a damp area and give them lots of mulch!
May 7, 2012
VOTE for Jamieson Elementary to win the Green Grant when you attend the Chicago Green Festival!
Our friends, JEFF, the parent and teacher-funded non-profit committed to providing resources and fostering community engagement to enhance the educational and enrichment goals of Jamieson Elementary, submitted the Campus Masterplan (designed in partnership with the community and UHC) to receive the Ford Community Green Grant and are one of five finalists!
If you’re attending the Chicago Green Festival at Navy Pier, stop by Hall A and vote for them. More information here
Can’t make it to the Green Festival to vote and would still like to see Jamieson Elementary provide their kids with a new and improved outdoor space? Donate here.
May 5, 2012
Spots still available for our Organic Farming workshops!
Students listen in at our 2011 “Fall Farming Bootcamp” workshop. Photo L.B.
April 24, 2012
Gardening Instructor Needed!
UHC is seeking a volunteer gardening instructor to lead kids after school, Mondays at Price Elementary School in South Chicago, from now to mid-June. If you’re interested, love kids and gardening, email us today! Summer positions also available.
Photo Jackie Smith
April 16, 2012
More events to come!
Spring is just getting started! We have lots of opportunities for you to get outside and learn about nature. Come see us at the Peggy Notebaert Museum on Earth Day to partake in Seedling Demonstrations. Or sign up for our Introduction to Organic Farming Workshops being offered through Urban Habitat Chicago Institute.
April 4, 2012
New Internship Positions
We’ve just updated our internship positions and are in immediate need of a Nonprofit Administration Intern. If you are interested in getting involved, please read more about the position here and contact us today! We also have Sustainable Urban Ag and Landscape Internships for those who are looking for an excuse to get outside this spring and summer. We hope to hear from you!
March 20, 2012
UHC at the Flower and Garden Show March 10-18, 2012
Come check out fun stuff made from reclaimed materials and plants by UHC at the Garden Show this weekend at Navy Pier! UHC helped the Conservation Foundation create Garden 15 - Conservation At Home
Green roofer Molly Meyer and our ED Mike Repkin created “Living Wall” panels and a sedum mat - displaying post-modern birdcages built from reclaimed lumber by Marshall High School students in our Green Lungs program; our teen Dirt Actualizers from Northside College Prep created a beneficial insect display with reclaimed bricks and wood; and carpenter James Zaraza created snazzy stools from more reused wood.
The garden demonstrates how backyard issues such as soil erosion, chronic wet areas, chemical absorption, heavy water consumption, excess waste, and the absence of wildlife diversity can all be improved by simple changes, like water conservation/harvesting, native plantings, composting, organic gardening, bee and chicken keeping, and alternative energy to create a beautiful, economical habitat.
Find them near the splashy Aquascapes display!
March 8, 2012
UHCi Spring Workshops start this Saturday! Register today!
Our UHCi workshops start this Saturday with UCHi 201. Advanced Organic Farming: Spring Production Temperatures are starting to rise and soon spring will be upon us! Join us for this workshop to get a headstart on the growing season. Key topics will include creating growing spaces, managing seedlings, growing soil, and moderating temperatures.
Note: This course is open to students who have completed an introductory urban agriculture course, which will be offered again in May. Registration information for the introductory course will soon be available here
March 5, 2012
UHCi: Classes now available
We are officially launching Urban Habitat Chicago Institute with new educational opportunities now available! UHCi is a coherent educational program to provide hands-on sustainability training to the public, with a focus on urban agriculture. Key components of the program are multi-level workshop series, and field or administrative internships, all designed to build independent capacity in participants. Classes are now available for registration, including UHCi 102. Intro to Organic Farming and UHCi 201. Advanced Organic Farming: Spring Production , as well as other lectures and electives. Check our Events for more information.
March 3, 2012
Thank you to Jamieson Elementary School and Volunteers!
Jamieson Elementary students contributing ideas on how to redesign their schoolyard. Photo courtesy of Lee Bouchard
With the help of several volunteers, parents, students and teachers, UHC hosted a charette at Jamieson Elementary School this month to facilitate the re-envisioning of Jamieson’s schoolyard. It was a collaborative process resulting in a master plan that proposes new uses and opportunities for the schoolyard based on the ideas contributed by everyone during the event. We would like to thank all those involved for making the charette a success! You can see pictures from the event here
February 24, 2012
New Lecture on Indoor Air Quality
UHC’s Paula O’Connell will be hosting a lecture on Indoor Air Quality on Saturday, March 3. Paula is a sustainable Interior Designer who specializes in creating and executing solutions for a healthier indoor environment. Read more about her lecture here. Hope to see you there!
February 21, 2012
We are partnering with the Peggy Notebaert Museum to offer a lecture in April given by Steve Sullivan. Steve is the curator of urban ecology at the Notebeart and will be giving a lecture titled Perspectives on Nature - as experienced by a bipedal, binocular, megacephalic member of the food chain (You and Me). More information is available here. We hope to see you there!
February 6, 2012
Photos of UHC Volunteer Open House
Thanks to everyone who came out to our Volunteer open house at Northside College Preparatory High School on January 21. You can see some pictures of the event at UHC’s facebook page. and our partner’s facebook page, Neighborhood Nutrition Centers. It was a cold day, but we stayed warm by the fire with friends and our volunteer family. Thanks again for all the hard work of our volunteers!
February 1, 2012
Gardening Videos with UHC's Mike Repkin
This past October UHC’s Mike Repkin worked with EcoJaunt to make videos educating on Jerusalem artichokes and talking about Northside Prep’s transformation into the food producing garden it is today. Check ‘em out!
January 23, 2012
Photos from Northside College Prep Volunteer Days
It may be cold, but our volunteers are still busy at the gardens at Northside College Prep! Check out these new photos uploaded to our facebook page from volunteer days from December and January when our volunteers harvested Jerusalem artichokes, kale, lettuce, tubers, and built cold frames.
January 9, 2012
Happy New Year and Thank you to all our volunteers!
Northside College Prep Students packing vegetables for a food pantry donation
As UHC starts the New Year, we want take the time to look back at 2011 and thank all of our dedicated volunteers who donated their time, money, and efforts to carry forth UHC’s mission. Together, we had a record year! We reached and taught more people than ever before with many workshops and lectures, built and maintained multiple gardens across Chicago including gardens that served several schools, and participated in community charettes. In addition, 2011 marked the beginning of a partnership with Neighborhood Nutrition Centers, a non-profit organization providing fresh locally grown produce to people in need. With your help, we have contributed more than 280 pounds of produce to NCC, in addition to Cooking Matters and other Chicago hunger relief organizations since August 2011. So, thank you!! Your help is invaluable.
In the upcoming year, we aim to increase our impact by expanding growing beds, increasing our number of experienced growers and harvesters, and launching Urban Habitat Chicago Institute. Please consider continuing your involvement and donate here. With your help we can contine to make our organization and the sustainable movement in Chicago a success!
January 3, 2012
More lovely pictures of veggies from Northside
Mike Repkin holds a sunchoke plant. (Photo courtesy of NCP volunteer Alicia Kwok)
Check out this great blog post from one of our volunteers, Alicia Kwok. She has been helping us harvest veggies from the gardens at Northside Prep.
December 15, 2011
Winter in Chicago may be cold, but there are still greens!
Greens at Northside College Prep. (Photo by NCP volunteer Alicia Kwok)
UHC is still bustling with activity. Alicia, one of our volunteers, has been blogging about her activities at Northside College Prep and taking beautiful photos. Check out one of her recent posts.
Also, students at Marshall High School have been busy building coldframes with the Green Lungs Program being taught by UHC. Read more about the program here and see what else the students have been up to at their facebook page.
And if you are still interested in volunteering with UHC, we still need you! The Gethsemane Garden has work that can be done during the cold season and there is a need for wood chips. If you are able to help, please contact us here.
December 8, 2011
Introducing Urban Habitat Chicago Institute!
To further build on our mission of education, in 2012 we will be launching Urban Habitat Chicago Institute - a coherent educational program geared to provide more hands-on training to an even broader public, with a strong focus on urban agriculture. Key components of the program are multi-level workshop series, and field or administrative internships, all designed to build a functional level of independent capacity in participants. Read more about it here. Be sure to check our Events and Volunteer Opportunities in 2012 for further information and workshop registration.
November 30, 2011
Thanks to everyone who voted for UHC's Northside College Prep Urban Farm
UHC has entered Pepsi’s Refresh Project contest to help fund our sustainable agriculture plots, education efforts, and growing of fresh produce for the needy at Northside College Prep’s agricultural gardens. Please take the time to watch our video submission and vote! Every vote counts! Vote here. You can also text your vote by texting 109161 to Pepsi (73774)
November 2, 2011
Fall Farming Workshops a Success
Planting collards. Photo taken by Les Kniskern
UHC’s Fall Farming Workshop Series is now complete! We held our last workshop this past Saturday and had a great time with everyone who attended. Thank you for making it a success! We posted photos from the Workshop Series here. Hope to see you for the next series!
October 24, 2011
Veggies Growing at Price Elementary
Gardening at Price Elementary. (Photo by Jacqueline Smith)
Students at Price Elementary School have been busy cultivating fresh grown vegetables that will be used for classes with the Cooking Matters program. Arugula and radishes are coming up nicely with lettuce and turnips to start growing soon. UHC has helped create gardening programs for Cooking Matters at five different sites where work has included consultation, planting bed construction, and gardening instruction. Read more about the Cooking Matters program here and see more pictures of the Price Elementary Garden here.
October 17, 2011
Sign up for the Green LUNGS Program
UHC’s Green LUNGS Program being offered at Marshall High School is perfect for teens who want to develop job skills in sustainability. In addition, teens who sign up will receive a stipend. The program meets after school Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday. You do not have to be enrolled at Marshall to participate. Email here to sign up.
October 12, 2011
New Volunteer Positions
Looking for a fulfilling way to use your spare time this Fall? UHC needs you! We have updated our volunteer positions and have both dirt-friendly and dirt-free options. We hope to hear from you!
October 10, 2011
UHC featured in Metropolitan Planning Council Article
UHC was featured in Metropolitan Planning Council’s blog about PARKing Day. This year UHC celebrated PARKing Day and sustainability by honoring clean air! Free yoga lessons and bike repair were offered. Read more about UHC’s involvement here
October 6, 2011
Celestial Garden now open!
Photo courtsey of Johan Tabora
This past Friday, September 23, was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Celestial Garden at Northside College Prep High School. Come enjoy our new garden space! To see more photos, go here
September 27, 2011
Fall Farming Workshops have started! Thanks to those who registered!
Photo courtesy of Lee Bouchard
It may be getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop farming! Our Fall Organic Farming Workshop Series teaches how to grow produce well into the fall season. If you missed the first session, but would still like to participate we may be able to accommodate you. Please contact our Events Staff for more information. To read more about the Workshop Series, go here
September 19, 2011
Parking Day this Friday!!
Come celebrate, or volunteer, with UHC at Parking Day this Friday, September 16, at Revolution Brewing. We will be offering free yoga sessons and free bike repair and demos. For more information about the event, check out the event page. To volunteer, contact us
September 13, 2011
Lumber Donations needed now!
We need lumber! Can anyone donate or loan wood for concrete framing?
We want to pour permeable concrete to extend the pathways at Northside college prep, so the special ed students can wheel out to the water. Preferably 2×4’s but anything will do, min 6’ lengths. Please Email James Zaraza if you can help!
September 13, 2011
Fall Organic Farming Workshops Series Starting Soon!
September 11, 2011
Farming Boot Camp Photos Posted! Thanks to those who made it!
Photo Courtesy of Lee Bouchard
We had a great time hosting our Organic Farming Boot Camp this past Saturday. Thanks to all of you who made it out! We hope you get a chance to employ all your new skills this fall. Pictures of the event are posted here.
Also, our Fall Workshop Series is open for registration! Find out more and register here.
September 7, 2011
Bootcamp Tomorrow! Still a few spots left - Register now!
Saturday September 3 is our Intro to Organic Farming: Bootcamp! All the farming you need to know in a single day! Take this to prep for our Fall Farming Series, or to polish your farming skills. You can read more about it and register here.
September 2, 2011
PLEASE VOTE FOR US NOW!
Please help us win a Pepsi Grant for our Gethsemane Garden by voting right now! It’s so easy! Thank you!
and please share the link! http://www.refresheverything.com/growfood
September 1, 2011
Organic Fall Farming - Register Now!
After a ton of fun at the Birthday Bash, we look forward to a Fabulous Fall!
This Saturday September 3 is our Intro to Organic Farming: Bootcamp! You can read more about it and register here.
That one-day intensive overview will get you ready for our special workshop series on extending the Illinois growing season and farming in cool weather:
Find out more and register for our September 24 - October 22 Fall Organic Farming Workshop Saturday Series here.
August 17, 2011
Join us! UHC All Community Volunteer Day this Saturday
Raised beds at the UHC Armitage Site (photo credit Marcos Alcozer)
There’s lots of things growing at Northside College Prep and we could use your help! Come out this Saturday for an all community volunteer day. It’s a great excuse to get outside and get your hands dirty. Event details here
August 10, 2011
New Photos Uploaded: Permaculture Lecture and Northside College Prep Film Crew Visit
UHC’s Mike Repkin being interviewed by Columbia Film Students (Photo Courtesy of Lee Bouchard)
Check out the new photos uploaded to UHC’s Picassa Photo album. You’ll find new photos from Craig Sadur’s Permaculture Lecture held at Alley Cat Comics. Also, pictures are available from the recent visit to Northside College Prep by Columbia Film Students who are working on a documentary about Northside Prep. Stay tuned to preview behind the scenes footage of their visit to the Joy Garden and their interview with UHC’s Mike Repkin.
Check out all these photos here.
August 2, 2011
UHC and Farm America helps install raised beds at the Union League for Boys and Girls Club
The new raised beds at the Union League for Boys and Girls Club (photo credit James Zaraza)
UHC and Farm American helped install beautiful, newly constructed, raised beds at the Union League Boys and GIrls Club that are currently being used for a summer gardening program! They will be used by the kids and their families to learn gardening and as a source of healthy, fresh food. Later in the summer Cooking Matters will use the garden beds for classes that will offer kids a chance to follow food from the garden to their forks and to learn how to prepare healthy low-cost meals.
July 28, 2011
Thanks to all who came to the first Organic Gardening Workshop!
Mike Repkin leading the first organic gardening workshop this past Saturday (photo credit Marcos Alcozer)
Both last Thursday’s permaculture lecture and our first organic gardening workshop were very successful! Thanks to all who came out. We are looking forward to the rest of the workshop series, which are now sold out. If you are still interested in workshops with UHC, keep an eye out for the fall series!
July 20, 2011
UHC Summer Workshop Series FULL
Thanks to all those who signed up! If you were hoping to participate, but weren’t able to sign up on time, please check back for updates to our Events. We hope to see you at future workshops and lectures!
July 18, 2011
Thanks to all those who came to learn about pervious concrete!
UHC had a great time hosting Brian Lutey who held a pervious concrete certification class at Northside College Prep on Monday. Several attendees became certified in installing pervious concrete, and an accessible pathway was installed leading to the green house at Northside Prep. You can check out pictures here.
July 11, 2011
UHC needs YOU! John Hay Elementary does too!!
Looking for a way to give back to your community? Check out our updated volunteer opportunities! We have several volunteer positions open and need your help. And if you love gardening and kids, please consider the John Hay Elementary School Volunteer, which we need to fill by mid-July. Teaching the next generation of gardeners? What could be better?!?
July 2, 2011
UHC Participates in Chicago Sky's Go green Fair
Photo courtesy of Marcos Alcozer
UHC had a great time hosting a table at the Chicago Sky’s Go Green Fair this past Saturday. The garden in a glove seedling activity was a big hit with UHC-ers and kids at the game! Check out photos of the event here. You can also check out a video of the volunteer day the Sky spent at Northside Prep’s Joy Garden here. Thanks to all those that came out!
June 28, 2011
Chicago Sky goes green with UHC
Photo Courtesy of Marcos Alcozer
This past Friday the Chicago Sky volunteered with UHC at Northside Prep’s Joy Garden. The team quickly jumped in to help care for the gardens and plant new crops of vegetables. We thank the Chicago Sky for their help! Check out pictures from the event here and read more about it at the Chicago Sky’s website.
June 26, 2011
Summer Summer Summer Time!
It’s almost summer and UHC is in need of volunteers! We are looking for a volunteer to lead students in gardening at John Hay Elementary School and are in desperate need of fundraising volunteers who have experience with grant writing. Read more about all our volunteer positions here
June 8, 2011
Food Stand Exhibits Sustainable Concepts
Mike Repkin and students from the After School Matters Program, in front of the produce stand they built. (Photo by Christopher Nergaard)
The After School Matters Program participated in by UHC’s Mike Repkin and Empowerment Through Education and Exposure is nearing the completion of a food stand that showcases several sustainable concepts at Marshall High School. The food stand was constructed using recycled materials and features rain water catchment, natural ventilation and a durable metal roof. Special thanks to UHC volunteers Brian Lutey and James Zaraza for their hours of hard work and dedication! Read more about the food stand here.
June 1, 2011
Several tools have been stolen from the Gethsemane Community Garden that UHC assisted in building and now assists in managing. We are in desparate need of replacing the tools stolen and are asking for your help! Tool donations are being accepted Wednesday, May 25, through Sunday, May 29th, at the Global Coffee and Cargo Shop and can be dropped off at anytime during the day. Below is a list of what is needed. Monetary donations will be accepted as well. Thanks is given in advance to any who might be able to help!
3 round point shovels
2 heavy-duty rakes
1 leaf rake
2 hand hoes
3 hand trowels
1 flat shovel
May 24, 2011
The Story of the Joy Garden
Check out this video created by the Dirt Actualizers, who are students from Northside College Prep that assist in caring for the Joy Garden. The video tells the story of the Joy Garden and those dedicated to keeping it thriving. The students created it for their involvement in the Harrow’s Fellowship Grant, and the video is also a submission for the NCP film festival. If you are interested in volunteering at the Joy Garden at Northside College Prep, please join us this Saturday from 10am-2pm.
May 23, 2011
Getting warmer! Time to get outside! Check out these upcoming volunteer opportunities
Garden beds at Northside College Prep (Photo courtesy of Mandi Foran)
Join us this Saturday for our regular volunteer day at Northside College Prep. Lots of green veggies growing that need your help!
There are also opportunties to assist John Hay Public School in restarting their vegetable beds this Wednesday and Thursday, May 18th and 19th from 1 to 6 pm. Contact Elizabeth Dechant to join in.
May 18, 2011
Greens are growing
Photo courtesy of Mandi Foran
Check out this kale growing at the Joy Garden at Northside College Prep! It’s that time of year where fresh veggies are popping up and everyone’s gardens are getting busy. Join Anna Glenn and UHC at Transistor on May 17 to watch a documentary about a Los Angeles community’s struggle against the destruction of their community farm in the award-winning movie The Garden.
May 11, 2011
Check out more pictures from Arbor Day
Don’t you love it when trees are planted? Mayor Daley does too! Enjoy these pictures of the tree planting day UHC hosted, with a little help from Mayor Daley, at the Joy Garden at Northside College Prep High School in honor of Arbor Day.
May 5, 2011
Mayor Daley Celebrates Arbor Day with UHC!
Photo Courtesy of Mandi Foran
This past Friday, April 29, UHC hosted an Arbor Day Celebration at the Joy Garden at Northside Prep High School. Mayor Daley stopped by to join in on the festivities and plant a few trees! Listen to his speech here and read more about it here. Thanks to all those who came out both on Friday and Saturday!
May 2, 2011
Earth Day Photos Now Available!
Check out these great photos from the Earth Day Workshops. What a great time! Thanks again to all those that came out.
May 2, 2011
Coming to a rooftop near you: FOOD!
Space is limited in the city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden! UHC’s Mike Repkin has developed a rooftop system called UrbanRoofFarm, which is ultra-lightweight and easily adaptable to any home. The system yields tomatoes, basil, wheat, squash, snap peas, and many more varieties of food, fuel and fiber. He is currently partnering with Molly Meyer of Rooftop Green Works to make this system available to homes in Chicago. Read more about it and check out some pictures here
May 2, 2011
Earth Day Workshops a Success!! Thanks to all those who came!
UHC’s annual Earth Day workshops last Saturday at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum were a great success. Thanks to everyone for coming out! Special thanks to Brian our tasting chef, all our volunteers, and to the museum for hosting the event.
April 27, 2011
Earth Day Workshops? New web resources? Volunteer Positions? It's all true!
Learn what UHC has been up to lately! Read about our involvement in the Goethe School Brainstorming Event here.
Check out Michael Bloom’s March lecture about Sustainable Behavior & Green Buildings with presentation materials that are now available here.
With warm weather right around the corner, learn how you can get involved in outdoor volunteer positions here. Dirt-free positions available too!
Come learn more about the environment and how you can do your part at the Earth Day Workshops we are hosting at the Peggy Notebaert Museum on April 23. Registration information here.
April 10, 2011
Thanks for joining us for the April lecture!
Ben Helphand with the head of the women’s cooperative in Gurpinar, a neighborhood of Istanbul. (Taken by Anna Glenn)
Come see our very own Anna Glenn (Vice President, UHC) and Ben Helphand of NeighborSpace speak on “Urban Agriculture in Istanbul: 1,000 year old fortification wall gardens, airport gardens, and a women’s cooperative” For more information on this lecture and to register, go here.
March 8, 2011
MARCH LECTURE A SUCCESS! Thanks to all who came out!
Guest speaker Michael Bloom will be discussing Sustainable Behavior & Green Buildings: Living and Working in Sustainable Buildings. Come hear about how knowledge of human behavior is being incorporated into the design of high performance buildings, working to make them even more efficient. Read more about it here.
March 2, 2011
NEW VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES!!
UHC has new volunteer opportunities! If you have been looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity that will help your community, look no further! We are in need of Joy Garden volunteers, a Communication and Marketing Intern and a Outreach and Lecture Coordinator. Read about all postions here.
February 9, 2011
More from Haiti, by way of Seattle
A multi-tasking composting toilet? This little building seems to do it all!
January 27, 2011
FIRST LECTURE OF 2011 WAS A SUCCESS!
UHC kicked of our Spring 2011 Lecture Series with Julie Hochstadter of Bike Winter last week, and we learned all about the gear, clothes, and especially the great attitude that you need to keep peddling even on the chilliest of days! Thanks, Julie, for all the great info and inspiration!
Our exciting lectures occur the first Wednesday of every month. Join our mailing list so you can be kept up to date.
January 5, 2011
A word from Urban Habitat Port-au-Prince
Can sustainable concepts and practices learned in Chicago be successfully deployed in Haiti?
December 14, 2010
JANUARY 2011 LECTURE IS ON! IT IS SO ON!
Image source: bikewinter.org
Our next lecture is actually a demonstration on year-round cycling by Julie Hochstadter of Bike Winter. Don’t miss this chance to learn about nifty gear, tips, and tricks. Post-lecture, join the group at a nearby restaurant to continue the conversation in a more informal setting.
Topic: Year-round Biking
Date: Wednesday, January 5
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: J. Merlo Branch of the Chicago Public Library
644 W. Belmont Avenue, 60657 (map)
When you enter the library, with the circulation desk on your right, the lecture room is straight ahead on the right. To get there, go straight keeping the computers to your right. The door straight ahead enters into the lecture room. Please feel free to enter even if you’re a little late!!!
We apologize if you had any problems registering for our lecture. You can register with the link below.
December 10, 2010
Sennett Lecture Cancelled
Dear members and friends of UHC,
UHC regrets to announce the cancellation of the lecture this Thursday, December 2nd. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Richard Sennett is unable to come to Chicago at this time. UHC is working to reschedule the lecture, and those who were signed up to attend will be contacted and given the first opportunity to reserve their place at that time.
We still encourage everyone to visit the latest exhibition at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Las Vegas Studio.
Looking forward, our 2011 Lecture and Film Series, focusing on Year-round Sustainability, kicks off on Wednesday, January 5 - Julie Hochstadter of Chicago’s own BikeWinter will give a presentation and demonstration on year-round cycling!
Future topics in this year’s series will include: 1,000 Year-old Urban Gardens in Istanbul, Turkey; community gardens with Ben Helphand of NeighborSpace; how to live sustainably in your green building; and how to keep a toxin-free home.
Learn more about our Lecture and Film Series, and stay tuned for information on our April Earth Day Workshop to be held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum! Check out UHC’s Earth Day 2010 Workshop
UHC Staff and Volunteers
November 30, 2010
Joy Garden Wins Mayor Daley's "Gardener of the Year" Award!
UHC’s Mike Repkin (second from left) accepting Mayor Daley’s Gardener of the Year Award for UHC
UHC is proud to announce that the Joy Garden won for both the Category of Region 1 School, as well as the “Gardener of the Year” Award! Some of the group will be on the Mike Nowak Show on Sunday to talk about it, so be sure to tune in. Congrats to all those involved!
November 10, 2010
November 3rd 2010!
TONIGHT’S LECTURE: Lynn Todman, Ph.D.
Lecture topic: Social Determinants of Mental Health
Date/time: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 6:30pm
Location: J. Merlo Branch of the Chicago Public Library
644 W. Belmont Avenue, 60657 (map)
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! INTERNS WANTED!
Northside College Prep High School Joy Garden Regular, weekly volunteers are needed to help with garden maintenance. Please call Mike Repkin (773-791-1131) to make arrangements.
THIS WEEK! We could use a few extra volunteers to help build cold frames before the frost sets in. Please contact Mike Repkin (773-791-1131) in advance if you’d like to lend a hand.
Visit our new Current Positions Available under the projects tab for Intern opportunties.
Since last week’s newsletter……
Landscape Architect, Dreamer, AND Doer, Nick Petty, presents UHC’s Joy Garden in the Fast Pitch Competition after Joy Garden achieved finalist status for Mayor Daley’s Greenworks Award in 2010 Check out our main man’s presentation on YouTube,
November 2, 2010
UHC’s Joy Garden is a finalist in Mayor Daley’s Greenworks Awards 2010 competition
Now FREE to attend! Support UHC and vote, Tuesday October 26th, at the Fast Pitch Competition on at the Merchandise Mart - learn about all the terrific finalists (including the Joy Garden at Northside College Prep High School) in Mayor Daley’s GreenWorks Awards 2010, and stay on to hobnob with Chicago’s greenest at the reception afterwards.
October 25, 2010
Volunteer Day Change for SOS Rooftop Recovery!!!
Rescheduled! Due to high winds and low temperatures expected this Wednesday and Thursday, this week’s work days on the Sunlight of the Spirit Rooftop Recovery Garden have been resheduled to Monday, November 1, 10am-2pm. Please contact Mike Repkin (773-791-1131) if you would like to help out.
October 25, 2010
UHC's LEADERS CONNECT WITH THE WIDER COMMUNITY IN HAITI AND TURKEY
Dave Hampton, UHC’s Board President, has been recently selected as a Design Fellow for Architecture for Humanity International in Haiti.
Dave Hampton will be working for one year to help with the reconstruction of Haiti with Architecture for Humanity. Their reconstruction initiative includes the design of schools; a Rebuilding Center to bring together local design and construction communities, foreign NGOs and international university collaborators. Dave will work with another partner - J/P HRO - to help address the design and construction needs of the Petionville Terrain de Golfe (PVC) camp where over 60,000 internally displaced persons reside temporarily.
His experience with UHC was cited by AFH as the number one reason for bringing him on board, so… take note all you folks that have been thinking of getting involved! Although he’ll miss working with the amazing folks (and you volunteers and supporters!) of UHC for a little while, he’ll look forward to the fantastic developments to come in 2011. Stay tuned!
Learn more about AFH’s project Dave will be helping with, and all the other projects AFH is leading all over the globe.
We hope to receive updates from Dave, and if we do we’ll pass them along to you! Congratulations, Dave, and we wish you luck and success during your year helping our friends in Haiti!
Anna Glenn, UHC’s Vice President, has been selected to participate in an exchange program for emerging leaders of grassroots organizations in Turkey through Heartland International (HI).
Anna Glenn, will be in Turkey for a month participating in a program called From the Ground Up through Heartland International. HI “designs, implements, and manages political, economic and social development projects, as well as international education exchange programs.” The goal of FTGU is to create joint projects between the American and Turkish participants to share best practices, promote mutual understanding and address social justice issues common to both cultures. Anna will be partnered up with a counterpart from Turkey and will be given the opportunity to come up with ideas and discuss their respective social and environmental issues.
We can’t wait to learn more about Anna’s project and experience with FTGU. Please check back for updates!
October 19, 2010
WANTED: Interns & Volunteers
Urban Planning Intern
Job description: Research, evaluation, and presentation of available sites within Chicago to find a permanent home for UHC!
Create a list of potential sites and assist us in identifying the appropriate place for our office headquarters and demonstration site.
Ideal candidates have a strong interest in urban planning or design, are independent, self-motivated, have graphic communication skills, and can commit to about 10 hours per week. Project is estimated to be completed in the Spring of 2011.
Interviews will be conducted in the last two weeks of November. Please contact Breena Ferguson for more information or to apply.
UHC is also seeking an experienced, pro-bono accountant! If you’re interested, please contact Breena Ferguson for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: It is our intent to review each application as it arrives and respond as quickly as possible; however, we will not be able to schedule interviews until late November and December. Your diligence in staying in contact over the next couple of months is appreciated! - Anna Glenn (acting Board President) and Breena Ferguson
If you’d like to help out, we still need current volunteers at Northside College Prep High School. Please call Mike (773-791-1131) or Nick (240-606-7194). Volunteering takes place at Northside College Preparatory High School, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave.
October 13, 2010
2010 Lecture and Film Series to close with 2 great new lectures
Left: Lynn Todman, Right: Richard Sennett
September 22, 2010
Park(ing) Day redux
Read the new blog entry: Reflections on Park(ing) Day 2010
September 21, 2010
PARKing Day 2010 is happening now!
A revolution in park(ing).
It’s FRIDAY! Just about lunch time…if you’re in the area stop on by (in front of) Revolution Brewing, 2323 N Milwaukee Ave !
Urban Habitat Chicago is participating in PARK Day 2010 for the second year by transforming metered parking spots into a meandering garden displaying house plants on by local citizens.
Shaded and surrounded by the greener things in life.
A zigzagging path of sod invites passersby into a shaded structure built from reclaimed wood which gives sense of enclosure and shelter from a busy city street. Plants loaned by residents for a day meander through the park, flanked by fabric windcatchers on the street side. On the sidewalk side, a clothesline gallery of photos features stories written by members of UHC, visitors, volunteers, and neighbors about how particular plants bring greenspace into their lives.
Traffic? What traffic?
Examples include a peanut plant which was the result on a tiny volunteer gardener (a squirrel), a plant given by one friend to another that always travels in the front seat of a car during moves, and a spider plant just waiting to propagate itself by having some nice person take a shoot and plant it at home.
A goal for UHC’s Park(ing) Day is to encourage visitors to take an active role in creating more vibrant green spaces in our city, but rather than take an overly serious approach, we’re encouraging people to help populate our temporary park by stopping by, relaxing, grabbing their coffee or a book and just sitting with us a while.
It seems to be working. :)
Annie and Nick know how to celebrate a sunny Friday in Chicago…dippin’ their toes in the grass.
I WANT MORE!
You got it.
September 17, 2010
UHC to Participate in PARK(ing) Day Chicago 2010!!
PARKing Day is an annual, worldwide event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.
WHERE: (in front of) Revolution Brewing, 2323 N Milwaukee Ave (see map above)
WHEN: Friday, September 17, 2010
TIME: 10:00AM - ?? (Times may change..stay tuned)
We hope you’ll visit UHC at our parking stall and participate in public park creation, transforming our urban hardscape into a lush, green place fit to lounge in all day.
Rendering by Nicholas Petty
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE WITH US!
Help UHC build our parking stall oasis with snapshots of how YOU bring greenspace into your life and a short description of what it means to you. Some examples could be: the hanging plant on your front stoop which you’ve watered and talked to everyday, your route to work through the local park (because you like to start your day smelling the flowers and looking for butterflies), or the view from your office window and how you’ve managed to connect to the natural world even though you’re inside all day……get creative! The goal is to share with other urbanites how you connect yourself to the natural world….we will accept (in digital format) snapshots, diagrams, paintings, or sketches of what you just sketched on your Etch-A-Sketch.
OR BETTER YET, loan us your favorite house plant for a day! Email Breena Ferguson. and let her know what you’d like to loan us for the day and work out the details with her.
If you’d like to submit just photos and descriptions, please email to Breena Ferguson. We’ll include the representation of your oasis in our collective oasis on Friday, September 17, 2010!
Check out how UHC participated last year!
September 1, 2010
UHC is 5 years old!!
Thanks to all of you who came out and made the Bucktown Backyard BBQ Birthday Bash such a fun time. A sunken yard, movies under the stars, and grilled burgers and veggies… who could ask for more?
Also, thank you for donating. Your contribution will help our work in making Chicago a better place.
Now, to see some of that work and the cool, fun people who do it, check out We Are Urban Habitat Chicago, the most complete, full-color, uncensored, and all-inclusive slideshow for public consumption that we’ve got!!
August 19, 2010
UHC | Bucktown Backyard BBQ Birthday Bash
IT’S A UHC BIRTHDAY BASH FUNDRAISER!
Click on the image to RSVP.
Download the flyer (1.8 MB, PDF format)
August 19, 2010
Mulchapalooza outperforms Lollapalooza!
Right: Andrea, Craig and Jim performing live at the chip pile !!!
While Chicagoans were downtown immersed in Lollapalooza enjoying music, another group was immersed in biogenic cellulosic aggregate - woodchips.
Read more about it at the Repkin Biosystems blog, helmed by none other than former UHC Prez Mike Repkin.
August 7, 2010
On a warm summer evening...
… after the day’s work has been done.
Reflecting on the Joy Garden for a moment.
Watermelons ripen under cool green leaves, dragonflies flit over a plant-lined watercourse, river birches spread a growing canopies of shade above gently curving beds of bee-laden flowers.
One might ask themselves why every public school isn’t surrounded by such an oasis.
July 10, 2010
Next lecture July 7: Community Activism through the Design Studio
Join us for Community Activism through the Design Studio, when Profs. Nils Gore and Shannon Criss of the University of Kansas Architecture Department will share with us the community-based projects they’ve done with architecture students in Mississippi and Kansas.
June 16, 2010
The JOY GARDEN has been CHOSEN!!!
The Joy Garden has been chosen to partake in the SITES Pilot Program! Read about it in our blog.
May 25, 2010
UHC celebrates Underground America... from up high!
Photo by Anne Swaney.
The Joy Garden viewed from the roof of Northside College Prep High School as the solar hotwater system was being installed.
See below for more info on Underground America day.
May 15, 2010
Celebrate Underground America Day with UHC!
Underground America Day? What….is that? Underground America Day is officially May 14, it’s a celebration to honor the the 6,000 or so Americans who make there homes in the Earth. Architect Malcom Wells came up with the idea, “I woke up one day to the fact that the Earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants.”
Find out more here!
So, how is UHC celebrating Underground America Day? We are joining up with Greencorp to plant vegetables in the Joy Garden at Northside Prep this Saturday. We will be planting root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc. We hope you can dig a hole with us this Saturday!
(Be sure to check out the Glocal section for an interesting look into how Kansas City, MO is making Underground America Day a 365-day celebration!)
Where & When
Date: The celebration is May 15!
Time: 12 PM - 4 PM
Where: Joy Garden (at Northside College Preparatory High School) 5501 N. Kedzie Chicago, IL 60625
Cost: FREE! but please RSVP to Mike Repkin by calling 773-791-1131
May 15, 2010
FREE LECTURE THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT!
Passive Houses for Active People: How to Plan for Energy-Efficient Buildings
It’s not necessarily passive, and not just for houses.
Passive House is a high-performance energy-efficient design standard from Germany that grew out of superinsulated homes built in the Midwest from the early 1980’s. Useful for new construction and retrofits alike, projects large and small, this standard is fast gaining ground in the United States as the most realistic way to plan and implement energy-independent buildings.
May 5, 2010
Hear ye, hear ye! EARTH DAY audio!
Lissen up, people!
New audio has just been posted at the podcasts section.
There’s great new stuff ranging from how the Joy Garden reconnects students to their environment in a very beautiful way to what’ll make your swiss chard grow to astounding mega-proportions (hint: and it’s not by ringing a bell!).
You’ll also find individual audio files under “Downloadable content” at the bottom of any lecture, conference, workshop, or event page.
April 21, 2010
UHC Earth Day 2010 Workshop *A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR PARTICPANTS!*
Thank you to our Earth Day Workshop attendees! You made Saturday’s workshop a real success! We enjoyed meeting you all. Thank you to Emily, Anna, and Mike for being such knowledgeable and accessible teachers! You created a warm environment where questions were welcome and learning was fun.
Our goal was to introduce the ubiquitous concepts and trends of “organic gardening”, “vermicomposting”, and “urban gardening,” by showing our workshop attendees what that stuff really means. Each instructor provided the participants with a verbal cursory overview of each topic coupled with in-depth knowledge in writing for the participants to take home, read over, and share with their friends. The instructors suggested publications for further study knowing the audience may have varied experience. Best of all, each person was able to roll up their sleeves and learn by doing right alongside UHC’s experts. We hope you walked away with your questions answered and your interest piqued. It really is something YOU can do!
April 19, 2010
Volunteer Positions Available
UHC Needs You!
Fundraising Committee Members
Press and Marketing Volunteer
Events and Audio Visual Support Volunteer
Architectural and Graphics / General Office Support Volunteer
Urban Agriculture Interns
April 18, 2010
UHC Earth Day 2010 Workshop - 1) Seedlings to Vermicomposting: A 3-Part Series
Play in the mud with the staff and volunteers of UHC!
UHC’s very own Mike Repkin, Anna Glenn, and Emily Lake will each be leading a one-hour workshop covering everything from seedlings to vermicomposting. Bring your lunch and partake in a discussion about the sustainable actions you’re doing at home. Don’t forget to wear your play clothes!
April 11, 2010
Volunteers help plant trees and shrubs in Joy Garden
15 students from IIT’s Environmental Management program learned about the
Joy Garden and helped UHC plant trees and shrubs.
Soon, spring will be in full swing, and so will the garden. Please join us to volunteer.
April 10, 2010
APRIL'S LECTURE: Lessons from Guatemala - Applying 3rd world sustainable practices in the developed world
Presenting JULIE SIEGEL the Project Director for the AFOPADI reforesting project in Guatemala through the Earthways Foundation.
Join us Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 6:30pm at the J. Merlo Branch of the Chicago Public Library.
March 18, 2010
5 years of sustainable projects
Don’t miss the next in our lecture series, Urban Habitat Chicago: Who we are, what we do, and why we do it for a retrospective look on our first five years on Wednesday, March 3rd at 6:30pm at the John Merlo Library in Lakeview.
February 25, 2010
UHC gets fresh
At the recent screening of the film FRESH, attendees learned about our food, where most of it comes from, how it’s grown, and why things are the way they are. We also saw some great examples of alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture.
See the post-film discussion materials prepared by Anna Glenn.
February 9, 2010
What once was mud and salt...
…will soon be a garden of joy.
Read the article by Medill reporter Tawny Flechtner.
February 2, 2010
University of Kansas students make donation...
… which will go straight to Haiti.
Rather than ask for our standard honorarium for speaking, UHC encouraged students and faculty from the School of Architecture to make a donation that would benefit charitable organizations working in Haiti.
January 30, 2010
Volunteer day results in temporary island of plants
If you go by the Joy Garden, you’ll see some gorgeous plants hibernating for winter.
Through the efforts of the Urban Wildlife Coalition, CASE - Northside College Prep’s student group, and UHC, thousands of dollars of top-quality plants were donated for use in the Joy Garden from vendors at the MidAm Conference. This Saturday, volunteers help us unload, catalogue, and prepare them for winter by covering their rootballs.
We’ll be reviewing our design to see where they should go and when things warm up, we’ll need YOUR help to move and plant them.
January 23, 2010
Help for Haiti
UHC is trying to figure out how to best use our skills and resources to help the crisis in another urban habitat - Haiti - in a sustainable and meaningful way.
Please stay tuned.
In the meantime, do your part:
5 non-profits you can send a text message to in order to send money for aid to Haiti. The stated amount will be added to your phone bill:
Red Cross $10 - Text “HAITI” to 90999
Yele Haiti Foundation $5 - Text “YELE” to 501501
International Rescue Committee $5 - Text “HAITI” to 25383
International Medical Corps $10 - Text “HAITI” to 85944
Clinton Foundation for Haiti Relief $10 - Text “HAITI” to 20222
And don’t forget your own personal, renewable resource… give blood.
January 20, 2010
Special Members' Event! Screening of "Fresh" film Feb. 9
Please join us Feb. 9 for this special limited screening of Fresh the movie.
This will replace our usual Monthly lecture.
Not a member yet? No problem! Become one online here.
January 20, 2010
Malcolm Wells lecture draws 60
We all recently lost a visionary architect who saw early on the unsustainable direction much of the design world was headed and took corrective action to address it.
However, our first lecture of 2010, The Wonderful World of Malcolm Wells, was well-attended, leading us to hope that just a few more might continue to be inspired and build upon his legacy. Thanks to those who came out.
Please read our blog entry.
January 5, 2010
2009 - Year in Review
Dear friends and colleagues,
I could start out with the usual “it’s not the end of one year, it’s the beginning of another” stuff.
However, I’d rather start by saying without hesitation that in spite of circumstances in which many were unfortunately plagued by financial hardship and difficult challenges this year, we were able to prevail.
In fact… we rocked!
2009 has been one of the best years for Urban Habitat Chicago (UHC) to keep demonstrating the viability of sustainable concepts and practices in urban environments through research, education, and hands-on projects since our inception in 2004.
2010 promises to be even better!
Our community outreach and education
In 2009, our community outreach and education programs touched far more people than ever before.
The lecture series was a great success, reaching nearly 500 people this year. Some of the highlights were Nicholas Petty’s Vertical is the New Horizon on vertical gardens and living walls, Richard Avery and Jess Ter Meer’s reworking of underused malls in Flip-a-Strip, landscape projects by Terry Guen Design Associates, and the Burnham Smackdown, which sparked some great discussions on relevance and equity issues in urban planning.
Our first conference, Chicago 2175: Creating the Change was a hit, educating folks in composting, urban agriculture, vertical gardens, better buildings, healthy interiors, and in pouring pervious concrete.
Our appearances, either as a group, or as individual members, at venues such as the Chicago Public Schools, Field Museum, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago Green Festival, Chicago Center for Green Technology, Graham Foundation, Harrington Institute, and Chicago Architecture Foundation, spread our message to thousands more.
2010 will bring more great lectures, speaking engagements, and other opportunities for outreach.
In 2009, our projects, current and new, thrived.
James Park garden, to which we had to say goodbye as none of our members are in Evanston any longer, served us well and was extremely productive for 4 seasons.
The Rooftop Victory Garden transitioned into the hands of a capable group of volunteers trained by us to maintain and harvest rooftop crops for sale in farmers’ markets or down below in the True Nature Foods store.
2613 Garden cranked out a lot of great fresh veggies and has been winterized with coldframes and growing tunnels to keep cold-weather crops going.
Sunlight of the Spirit Garden gave us an opportunity to flex our design skills and advise this worthy nonprofit how to make the most of their community garden and provide fresh food for their new Jack Clark’s Cafe.
The Joy Garden at Northside College Preparatory High School, the crown jewel of our new projects, brought together UHC people, students, interns, and volunteers together to transform an old saltpile into a wonderful memorial garden for special-needs students, their fellow students, and teachers. This exemplary project synthesizes good design, community, and ecology better than we’ve ever done before!
2010 will bring more opportunities for new projects and for developing current ones further.
In 2009, we sustained existing partnerships and developed great new ones.
We donated food to Operation Frontline and local Women Infants and Children offices. We worked with Ozinga Brothers Concrete on pervious concrete paths at Joy Garden and even trained 30 people of all ages how to pour them! We teamed with Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) and Architecture for Humanity (AFH) to present a lecture by Sergio Palleroni on humanitarian-based design. We volunteered at Delta Institute’s ReBuilding Exchange to get used building materials ready for sale, and kept pushing for building deconstruction instead of demolition with The ReUse People of America.
2010 will see us deepening our relationships with like-minded organizations even further.
Finally, 2009 was a great year for our people.
New folks found us and stepped up to help, recent ones got more involved and took on leadership positions, and old salts moved into other roles.
We set into motion some things on the organizational and operations side which will prepare us better for the coming years, including electing new board members and appointing new staff.
Best of all, everybody chipped in, we dug in our heels, finished business plans and budgets to help guide us in the coming years, and got our federal nonprofit status underway to allow us to accept larger charitable contributions and look for grants and funding!
With better organization and our amazing people, 2010 should bring great things for Urban Habitat Chicago.
Dave gets weepy
In case this isn’t a personal enough yearly recap for you, let me end by admitting something:
When I think of where Urban Habitat Chicago has been, and the places we might go… I get weepy.
I admit it.
If you’re already a part of Urban Habitat Chicago, you know, like I do, how lucky we are to have each other. I count my many blessings to have found such incredible people to work alongside to demonstrate that sustainable concepts and practices can really work in Chicago.
If you’re not yet a part of Urban Habitat Chicago, but have been thinking of helping in some way, consider becoming a donor, becoming a volunteer, or becoming a member by contacting us.
We’d love to have you.
Help Urban Habitat Chicago make 2010 the best year ever for making our city a better place!
President, Board of Directors
December 31, 2009
The 2613 Garden has undergone a facelift in the last month, including construction of coldframes and hoop structures, to get ready to keep crops growing during winter months.
December 10, 2009
New online resources for Joy Garden
Hey press folks!! Download Mike and Nick’s presentation and a complete project summary for Joy Garden.
December 2, 2009
New audio available
JUST ADDED! Podcast audio from the Burnham Smackdown!
December 1, 2009
Volunteer opportunities and next lecture
To get your volunteering in before winter on one of several projects, including Joy Garden and 2613 garden, as well as a full range opportunities to help on the operations side, join our mailing list, and you’ll receive weekly notices and more info.
Hot on the heels of our last successful lecture (see below), join us December 2 for UHC Lecture Series 2009 12) The Joy Garden at Northside Prep: Reconnecting a School to its Environment through a Meaningful Landscape to hear how Urban Habitat Chicago transformed a barren saltpile into a thriving garden with permeable concrete paths for special needs students.
November 10, 2009
Burnham Smackdown draws 60
Tonight’s Burnham Plan of Chicago: Smackdown! at Schubas Tavern was UHC’s one-of-a-kind take on the 1909 Plan of Chicago by Burnham and Bennett, and featured a wonderful introduction to the plan by moderator Lynn Becker, great discussions among the panelists, audience participation, and yes… bicycle bells and even a toaster as a grand prize for the winners.
Please stay tuned here where we’ll be uploading audio from the event soon.
Thanks to those of you who came out!
November 4, 2009
Joy Garden looks awesome
Just a recent photo to show the view from above… this one from the library of Northside College Prep.
Note the pervious concrete walkways (material donated by Ozinga) are complete, which will allow special needs students to access the entire length and breadth of the garden.
The ends of drainage channels spiral off into striking, curliqued stormwater control devices.
November 4, 2009
Repkin wins Certificate of Recognition
In anticipation of some recent restructuring in our organization, Michael Repkin recently stepped down as President after five incredible years of service to and leadership of Urban Habitat Chicago, leading the way for others.
Please join all of us here at UHC in thanking Mike for his hard work and dedication over the years to helping make our city and region better places.
(P.S.: And he won’t be disappearing anytime soon… he’ll just be helping us out in different ways)
October 25, 2009
Urban Habitat Chicago has undergone restructuring, held elections, and made appointments to make a clearer distinction between a Board of Directors which will guide the organization and staff positions to implement directives of the Board and manage day-to-day operations.
You will notice changes of people and position in the following areas:
The following Volunteer Staff position remains open:
Chief Communications Officer
Note that ALL of our positions are still filled by talented, dedicated volunteers who receive no compensation, so when you attend an event or send in a question, please take a moment to show your appreciation for those who are helping make Chicago a better place.
If you feel you may be a good candidate for an open position, please contact us.
October 17, 2009
Great Perennial Divide and Joy Garden work days
UHC’s project at Joy Garden benefited from the donation of plants from this program.
We also got some more work done on the spiraling stormwater management features (see photos when you click on the link above).
We were so carried away with the work that we forgot to take pictures of the two full wheelbarrows of plants donated by the Greencorps program! …. but we were full on busy for seven hours. We more than doubled the number of plants in the garden - possibly more than quadrupled. We cut the Echinacea in half, the day lilies into four or six plants, and added about thirty new plants - Thanks Greencorps!
Join us most any Wednesday and Saturday from 12pm-4pm to volunteer, but before you do - let Nick know you’re coming.
September 26, 2009
Blast from the past - decon
Way back in ‘05, UHC tried its hand at deconstruction on the Atsushi Kikuchi house (see the online photo gallery.)
Before decon had become well-established in Chicago, this project led us research this growing industry more, encouraging the ReUse People to come to here, and eventually resulted in the creation of the ReBuilding Exchange.
Read more about that history here.
September 21, 2009
UHC joined groups from across the globe PARKing Day in an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARKing” spaces: temporary public parks.
Thanks to all those folks - pedestrians, bikers, and even automobile drivers - who just said hello in passing or who stopped by to sit with us in our temporary park in front of Cafe Latakia at the intersection of Broadway and Belmont in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.
September 18, 2009
New blog entry on 'Living Structures' lecture
Read guest blogger Breena Ferguson’s take on the recent ‘Living Structures’ lecture.
September 9, 2009
Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods: Season Four
See more photos from the most successful season yet.
September 5, 2009
New lectures announced for October and November
On October 7, David Thompson will discuss the Chicago Center for Urban Ecology (CCUE), which will address food system infrastructure in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods while linking to a broader green economy.
On November 4, UHC presents a one-of-a-kind event: The Burnham Plan of Chicago: Smackdown!.
In this a lively, fast-paced discussion, a panel of local practitioners will take on aspects of the 1909 Plan of Chicago by Burnham and Bennett, make it relevant and accessible, offer real-world solutions on implementation, and open things up for the audience.
Get ready to be part of this unique event!
September 3, 2009
Finances, foil blankets, and Filtercrete
Dan Kastilahn’s lecture Commercial Real Estate Finance kicked off 3 intensive days of the Chicago 2175: Creating the Change event.
Some highlights from the event include all hands on deck to pour a section of the accessible pathways at the Joy Garden using Ozinga’s permeable concrete; lectures covering topics from composting, urban agriculture, and vertical gardens to better buildings and healthy interiors; hands-on training in vermicomposting and other composting techniques, solar cooking, and solar water distillation.
For more information, or to come to our next event, contact us!
Special thanks to all attendees, UHC interns, student interns, volunteers, and to Northside College Preparatory High School for hosting the event.
August 17, 2009
Chicago 2175: Creating the Change
Urban Habitat Chicago is pleased to present Chicago 2175: Creating the Change, to be held August 13-15, 2009.
This event will feature lectures on 6 diverse but interrelated topics, hands-on training in installing Ozinga Filtercrete, a pervious concrete product, and other sustainable technologies at the in-progress Joy Garden, all on the campus of Northside College Preparatory High School.
August 13, 2009
On an elevated landform in the heart of the Joy Garden, 7 students from Northside College Prepartory High School held a graduation ceremony today from an intensive month-long workstudy program led by Mike Repkin and Nicholas Petty of UHC.
In addition to the more mundane tasks of moving rocks and dirt, they also helped put the finishing touches on spirals to help manage water, installed plant species that balance food production with beauty, and will carry on the legacy of the garden by forming a group to maintain and teach about its virtues.
After the ceremony, this highly motivated group led visitors on a tour and explained the implementation of this truly unique design and their vision for how the Joy Garden will act as an outdoor classroom. We look forward to a future blog entry and lecture presented by them - stay tuned.
Meanwhile, go see more photos now.
July 24, 2009
Nick Petty wins UHC Achievement Award for Outstanding Service
UHC’s Nicholas Petty sounds his barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world upon hearing the news.
For his work in designing, planning, and implementing the Joy Garden at Northside Preparatory High School, as well as leading a group of students during the summer (see news item above), Mr. Nicholas Petty was presented with the UHC Achievement Award for Outstanding Service.
His work also included more “displacement” of soil and “redirection” of water than seems humanly possible (second only to Mike Repkin).
Despite the accolades, Mr. Petty will still be expected to leave his numerous medals and gaudy epaulets at home, get back to developing an already mean tan, and report to work on Monday like everybody else.
July 24, 2009
Families benefit from food donations
Our cup doth overflow, and when it does, we share.
The Humboldt Park Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program recently received donations of food from Urban Habitat Chicago. This is not canned food, this is fresh produce just pulled out of the ground hours before from the UHC Garden at James Park.
WIC improves the health of low-income families by providing access to the nutrients frequently lacking in the diet of these pregnant women and young children. WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and access to health services.
Thanks to UHC’s Anna Glenn, Andrew Arbetter, and Lee Bouchard for making this happen.
Hopefully, an ongoing relationship can be developed.
To help us with great programs like these, please contact Lee Bouchard.
July 18, 2009
See how our garden grows
The 2613 garden is reaching for the sky!
Summer crops include Jerusalem artichoke, spinach, kale, collards, cabbage, kohlrabi, lamb’s quarter, amaranth, tomatoes, and others. Join us sometime for dinner and partake of this organically-grown, lovingly hand-harvested food.
July 12, 2009
Volunteer with UHC
Volunteers will be helping maintain our best-known, most unique project: the Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods.
UHC members Emily and Lynda joined Sabine and Carla at True Nature to help train folks how to run a rooftop garden, including tasks like weeding, checking soaker hoses/timers, and harvesting. UHC members will be shepherding volunteers through the process until they’re comfortable.
To volunteer for this or any other of our initiatives, such as urban agriculture, productive landscapes, materials reuse, or deconstruction, join our mailing list.
To become a member, contact Lily Wilcock, our Membership Director.
June 30, 2009
Conservation International to donate 'living centerpieces' to UHC
Conservation International is holding their fundraiser on June 8 in Chicago.
As they did two years ago ‘living centerpieces’ from the event will be donated to UHC for use in its two urban agriculture and productive landscape projects: Sunlight of the Spirit Garden, and the Joy Garden at Northside Prep High School.
What could be cooler than that?
Check back to see images of the plants in their new habitats in the near future.
Thanks so much, folks!
June 8, 2009
Donate to UHC!!
In order for us to do our part, we ask that you do yours.
If you’ve ever attended an Urban Habitat Chicago lecture, meal, volunteered with us, or had us help you by answering a question or making a connection… it’s been at no charge.
Your support will allow us to continue to make our city a better place.
June 7, 2009
UHC Podcasts - Any Lecture, Any Time!
Now you can listen to our lectures in the comfort of your own living room!
Go to our new podcasts section for audio of past lectures.
June 7, 2009
There Will Be Chunks
L: Concrete chunks from the slab of the old garage. R: Rendering of the new garage.
Annie Coleman of LivingRoom Realty is having a new garage built with reclaimed material (and featuring a rooftop garden) designed by Hampton Avery Architects, built by general contractor Green Cross.
UHC will also benefit from a unique materials reuse strategy:
Material from the project is being donated to UHC in the form of concrete chunks (which formed the slab of the old deconstructed garage) to build up earth berms at the Joy Garden at Northside College Preparatory High School and excavated soil for new foundations will become home for happy plants at Sunlight of the Spirit Garden.
June 6, 2009
June 3 lecture on Recent Landscape Architecture Projects
Kees Lokman of Terry Guen Design Associates discussed how growing up in a densely populated country, partially under sea level, shaped his perception of landscape and what role landscape architects should play in re-shaping the post-industrial city.
May 28, 2009
New project - Sunlight of the Spirit Garden
UHC is partnering with Jack Clark’s Recovering Communities to help re-design the Sunlight of the Spirit Garden at 2915 W Armitage.
Stay posted at the project page for more info.
May 27, 2009
You are calling... UHC hears you!
Our fabulous Director of Communications Lee Bouchard has made a few improvements to our homepage.
People have requested an easier way to join our mailing list to find out about the great stuff we do. Voila! A field has been added to the left, under ‘Recent Posts’.
An RSS feed has also been added for you tech-savvy content-hounds… just look to your immediate left.
Keep the great suggestions coming, and we’ll keep trying to improve.
You speak… and we listen!
May 26, 2009
Volunteers needed for urban agriculture projects
The Joy Garden at Northside Prep High School is underway and could use your help!
Work generally happens during the day on Saturdays.
If you’d like to help, contact UHC’s Nicholas Petty.
Stay tuned for more information on volunteering at another upcoming project - the Sunlight of the Spirit Garden.
May 13, 2009
"Flip-a-Strip" lecture 7:00pm Wednesday, May 6 at Graham Foundation
Please join us for a fascinating next lecture in the acclaimed UHC Lecture Series - Flip-a-Strip: Reimagining One of America’s Least Loved Suburban Building Typologies at the beautiful Graham Foundation located in Chicago’s tree-lined Gold Coast.
For full details, read more.
Note: Online registration is closed, but as we have space for 100, please just come by and join us and be sure to sign in on arrival.
May 6, 2009
Medill Reports video features Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods
The story also features the Red Line Green Roof Initiative members of UHC are developing with the 48th Ward.
May 1, 2009
The ReBuilding Exchange
Hey folks - the response to The ReBuilding Exchange has been overwhelming, and that’s wonderful.
We wish we could take all the credit, but we certainly can’t.
UHC helped encourage its creation, advocates for deconstruction which supplies reclaimed materials, and helps try to find volunteers, but please note:
Urban Habitat Chicago DOES NOT operate the ReBuilding Exchange.
We generally DO NOT take donations of building materials, appliances, etc.
Go here to DONATE MATERIALS to or PURCHASE MATERIALS from The Rebuilding Exchange.
The hardworking staff of The ReBuilding Exchange is ready and willing to help.
April 17, 2009
UHC members represent!
In the last week, UHC members have represented us at Converge:Exchange, World Water Day at the Field Museum, and Advocates for Urban Agriculture.
Thanks to those who gave their time - we look forward to hearing more about these events.
See guest blogger Ryan Wilson’s coverage of Converge:Exchange at the Blog section.
March 23, 2009
UHC Lecture Series 2009 in full swing
Downloadable content will be available soon - stay tuned.
The next lecture will be Let’s Make It Hot! The Built Environment: Land, Water, Soil and the City by Douglas Johnston of the Morton Arboretum.
March 9, 2009
A New Era Begins...
Left: Members of UHC take a break from eating collard greens and sweet potatoes at Mac Arthur’s Restaurant in 2006 to meet a real nice guy from Chicago’s South Side named Barack. Right: President-Elect Obama on the big screen in Millennium Park on the night of November 4, 2008.
Urban Habitat Chicago enters its 5th year, and we salute a new president with high hopes for the future.
You’ll hear a lot more in the coming year about the things UHC was created to address: the importance of our cities and infrastructure, where our food comes from, green jobs, energy, and the design of better buildings.
We feel a sense of pride that we’ve been able to accomplish good things with very little and look forward to continuing ongoing projects such as food-producing roofs, urban agriculture, and advocacy for deconstruction and materials reuse.
We will do our part, as we have since 2004, to educate the public and help answer timely questions, addressing such topics as:
Interior design choices and your health.
Vertical growing systems and the opportunities that exist in built spaces.
How America can innovate aggressively and become a world leader in true sustainability.
Integrating meaningful biological process into urban landscapes.
Reimagining suburban homes, communities, and building typologies such as the strip mall.
…and much, much more…
UHC Wants YOU!
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts… but it always helps to have quality parts.
As with President Obama’s administration, success or failure will be determined not by the strengths of one individual’s good ideas, but by the skills of a team to implement them while making the most of new opportunities and challenges that come their way.
So… get involved.
Volunteer with us - become an active part of helping shape our city into a better place.
Give us your feedback - what lecturers do you want to hear? What topics go ignored that we can address?
Urban Habitat Chicago has never had a stronger team, or brighter prospects for a solid future.
Please join us.
January 19, 2009
Birth of The Rebuilding Exchange
The Rebuilding Exchange will become the focal point of Chicagoland’s growing market for the storage and sale of building components and materials to the general public, ranging from lighting fixtures, appliances, and cabinet hardware to windows, doors, old-growth lumber, and siding.
The grand opening is slated for February 2009… stay tuned.
Learn more at the blog entry Birth of The Rebuilding Exchange and read how UHC was involved.
November 23, 2008
November 9, 2008
Deconstruction is lead story in Chicago Reader
The Recyclable House by Harold Henderson features the hard work of Ken Ortiz of OBI Deconstruction, the wisdom of Ted Reiff of The Reuse People of America, and even a few suggestions from UHC’s Dave Hampton.
Click the link or the image above to go to the article.
Learn more about UHC’s deconstruction advocacy.
July 24, 2008
Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods in the news...
July 17, 2008
UHC co-sponsors the Lifecycle Building Challenge 2
This free national, web-based competition invites engineers, designers, architects, planners, contractors, builders, educators and students in any field to submit innovative ideas related to deconstruction — creating buildings that can be easily taken apart so that you can reuse the building materials.
June 18, 2008
Greywater system featured on Chicago Public Radio
June 10, 2008
The Future of Urban Habitat Chicago
At a visioning retreat weekend, our Board of Directors met to plan for the coming years at the idyllic Lake House in Burlington, Wisconsin. We hope our efforts will contribute to making UHC a stronger, more effective organization in helping make Chicago a better place for all.
June 9, 2008
July and August lectures
Rethinking Independence Day will be our next lecture on Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30pm, Budlong Woods Branch Library, 5630 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL.
More information to come shortly.
The August 6 lecture will be High-Performance Residential Rehab.
June 5, 2008
UHC + AIA
Urban Habitat Chicago is seeking to become an AIA Continuing Education System provider soon. So all you architects out there needing to keep up with licensure… look to us in the near future!
June 5, 2008
What's Your Building's Eco-Value?
We found out on June 4 at UHC’s June lecture by Mike Jackson of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Download a copy of this presentation now.
April 24, 2008
Spring into UHC!
Spring 2008 general ad
UHC has opportunities this spring for volunteers on several urban agriculture projects, and hopefully some other interesting projects (stay tuned).
Contact us to let us know you’re interested.
If you’re looking for continuing education, be sure to check out our lecture series.
As always, we welcome your financial support to help us keep doing what we do.
April 23, 2008
Earth Week events
UHC will appear at the following Earth Month events:
- North Lake Shore Earth Day 2008
- Northside College Preparatory High School Green Scene
Saturday, April 19 from 12-5pm
- Kankakee Community College Sustainability Week, April 21-26
Thursday, April 24 at 5:30pm, “Deconstruction Opportunities in Kankakee.”
Remember, Earth Week 2008 is April 20-27!
April 16, 2008
Rooftop Victory Garden Spring 2008 planting
Today we planted future crops including broccoli, fava beans, green peas, kholrabi, and lettuces.
The digging was tough because we’ve established such a tough, living mat of roots and plant matter over the last year, but it will help keep the growing media in place and present a thriving ecosystem to support the new plants.
Learn more about this project.
April 14, 2008
Hope Springs Eternal
After one of the most difficult of recent Midwest winters, the Rooftop Victory Gardens is mostly dormant but slowly coming to life.
Stay tuned for progress as growing season begins again in spring 2008.
April 2, 2008
April lecture: Building a Future for Construction and Demolition Debris
Building a Future for Construction and Demolition Debris was our April lecture by Jenna Kunde of WasteCap Wisconsin.
This lecture looked at the trends in construction and demolition debris recovery and investigated why reuse and recycling of construction and demolition debris is important and growing. Case studies of successful construction and demolition debris reuse and recycling were presented along with how to achieve these successes on your own projects.
Attendees included contractors, building materials recyclers and reuse specialists, architects, deconstruction advocates, and planners.
Learn more about the UHC Lecture Series.
March 25, 2008
March 12 lecture
March 12, 2008
Donate to UHC
Urban Habitat Chicago needs your hard-earned money like never before.
Know why we’re not too proud to beg? Because you need a good cause to support, we don’t ask for a lot, and the work we do deserves your support. From our free monthly lectures to special presentations to advocacy of urban agriculture, green roofs, materials reuse, and deconstruction, UHC works hard to make a difference.
Donate in two ways: go to our new Support section or, just drop us a check in the mail for any amount you can afford!
You’ll help make Chicago a more sustainable city with your donations to Urban Habitat Chicago.
March 4, 2008
March 5 lecture
On March 5, Dan Kastilahn addressed the basics of commercial real estate finance in the capital markets in Commercial Real Estate Finance: Going Green. Topics included pros and cons for developers, investors, lenders, property managers, etc. when it comes to green buildings.
To find downloadable lecture content, and to learn more about lectures, go to the UHC Lecture Series.
February 7, 2008
February 2008 lecture: Deconstruction
Dave Hampton lectured on “Deconstruction: The Next Step for True Sustainability in Chicago”.
The UHC Lecture Series returned in January with Emily Lake lecturing on Urban Agriculture: Sustenance, Security, and Beauty.
January 10, 2008
New Director of Urban Agriculture
Congratulations to Emily Lake, who has been named Director of Urban Agriculture after serving UHC for two years as Intern Agricultural Specialist.
If you have questions regarding all things agricultural, please contact Emily!
January 9, 2008
It’s a new year, so take a moment to check out some of our media appearances during 2007:
Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods in the Loyola Phoenix, on GreenBean, and at faircompanies and urbanrevision.
Deconstruction on Chicago Public Radio.
Seedballs on Eight-Forty Eight.
Lectures on various topics.
There’ll be more to come in 2008 - stay tuned.
January 1, 2008
UHC nominated for 2007 Mayor Daley's Greenworks Awards...
… but didn’t win. So sad.
We were up for both a Green Buildings and a Green Practices award for the Rooftop Victory Garden at True Nature Foods.
We did, however, present Department on Environment Commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna with a basket of produce grown on the roof. Heck, the basket itself was even made from the pressed and dried fibers of plants grown on the roof such as comfrey and wheat.
Thanks for all your hard work on this project (and the basket), folks.
November 29, 2007
2007 fall harvest is in
The garden at James Park has yielded lots of great food for us in summer and now fall.
November 18, 2007
Exhibit features work of UHC
The Chicago-based Peace Museum exhibit features UHC’s Rooftop Victory Garden at the Harold Washington Library Center along with other Chicago projects and the work of Colombia’s grassroots environmental action group Gaviotas.
November 9, 2007
Deconstruction project in Glencoe
UHC’s Dave Hampton and The Reuse People’s Ted Reiff were filmed today
for a segment of Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, featuring the deconstruction work of OBI Deconstruction at a residence in Glencoe, IL. Click the image above for more photos.
The segment will air in March 2008.
November 7, 2007
UHC is the face of the 2007 Green Roof/Cool Roof Grants!
Yes, an image of our Rooftop Victory Garden is the featured image for the the City of Chicago’s Green Roof/Cool Roof Grant brochure. We can’t tell if it’s Geof with his cool hairstyle or Dave with a ballcap up there, but it’s one of UHC’s very own, that’s for sure!
Any home or business owner planning on doing major roofwork or a green roof are encouraged to learn more about these grants first.
Getting started on a rooftop agriculture project is our great online resource you should also read.
October 26, 2007
UHC in eco-structure magazine
Our support of deconstruction is noted in the October 2007 issue of eco-structure magazine, which is devoted entirely to our favorite great city in a garden - Chicago!
Learn more about our work encouraging deconstruction as an alternative to demolition of buildings.
October 16, 2007
UHC Lecture Series returns!
Join us for “Growing Plants on Rooftops in Chicago”, the first of the Fall 2007 UHC Lecture Series as Michael Repkin talks about creating opportunities for human health, economic growth, and national security… by growing plants on roofs!
Date/time: Wednesday, September 26 at 6:30pm
Location: Budlong Woods Branch Library
5630 N. Lincoln Ave. (at Bryn Mawr Ave.)
Chicago, IL 60659
Other lectures will cover a northwest Chicago site with a fascinating history but few plans for the future, a view of New Orleans two years after Katrina and reasons why America should care if sustainability ever arrives, as well as other timely topics.
Lectures are free to the public.
September 23, 2007
UHC and its people all over the place
UHC’s Dan Kastilahn (far right) helps answer questions after a local screening of the new environmental documentary “The 11th Hour.”
A busy few weeks for UHC. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Windy City Weather - interviews with UHC and everyone’s hard work on the Rooftop Victory Garden will be featured in a special on CLTV, Chicagoland’s Television this weekend (click the first link for showtimes).
- Living with Your Wild Neighbors - President Mike Repkin will address attracting or repelling wildlife from urban gardens at this seminar on August 25 at 12:00pm, Edgebrook Branch, Chicago Public Library.
- Ecological Landscape Conference - Vice-President Anna Glenn has been chosen to present her paper on landscape restoration this October in Cleveland, OH for the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).
- 11th Hour premiere - Treasurer Dan Kastilahn was on hand to field questions after a local screening of this new environmental documentary.
- Current TV - Board member Geof Prairie was interviewed for Al Gore’s international web and T.V. channel about seedballs, one of the runaway hits of Columbia College’s spring DIY show.
UHC has also been asked to consult on a few groundbreaking projects in the Chicagoland area and will be featured in an upcoming program on the Science Channel… more info to come.
Harvesting food at James Park is also going well - we’re up to our ears in tomatoes!
Finally, look for a link to the Rooftop Victory Garden webcam in the coming month.
Want more? Let us catch our breath for a minute!
August 22, 2007
The 11th Hour
Register here for the August 23 screening.
Our photos and information of the Rooftop Victory Garden requested by the filmmakers were, alas, not used in the film, but UHC has been asked to be a part of a Q & A panel discussion following a local screening of the environmental documentary The 11th Hour, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Date & time: 7:30pm on August 23, 2007
Place: Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema
The film opens August 24 in Chicago.
Please note that seating at the theater is first come, first served and not guaranteed. It is strongly recommended that you arrive early as the theater is overbooked to ensure capacity.
July 25, 2007
UHC in Tennessee
Over half of UHC is in Tennessee for a retreat weekend and design charrette as the guests of Model Assemblage’s Neal Appelbaum and Garth Hawkins. The goal of the charette is to create a modular refuge that can grow over time for urban parents and children to be able to slow down and experience rural life.
See the project page.
July 7, 2007
New media resources on deconstruction
More resources now available in our advocacy of deconstruction.
July 2, 2007
UHC will be partnering with Conservation International to do a survey of wildlife drawn to Chicago’s green roofs in Fall 2007, the focus of which will be the Rooftop Victory Garden.
See a related guest blog entry by CI’s Andrew Kolb.
June 26, 2007
Chicago's first planned & permitted residential deconstruction
Left to right: Deconstruction begins at 3905 N. Janssen; The ReUse People’s Ted Reiff (at right) explains the process to UHC’s Andrew Arbetter.
Within a matter of weeks, a two-story Chicago residence will be reduced to its foundation… and piles of neatly organized building components ready for re-use.
Download press releases, hear an audio clip, and read more about it here.
June 25, 2007
Food on a roof
UHC has produced food on a Chicago roof!
Rather than relying on containers for our rooftop agriculture, our approach is based on building-integrated food production and is yielding elements of a complete, balanced diet such as legumes, grains, and vegetables, rather than the occasional plant for seasoning.
See the latest photos, and drop by to see the results at the Farmer’s Market at True Nature Foods, 6034 N. Broadway on Saturday, June 30 from 7:00am-2:00pm.
June 20, 2007
UHC dinner garden
Folks gathering to hear Mike (in brown shirt) explain how a “potato tower” works. More on this later.
Once a week we gather to share a meal, often with food we’ve raised ourselves, either in the UHC garden at James Park in Evanston, or in this backyard “dinner garden.”
June 4, 2007
Need help with rooftop agriculture?
Because of overwhelming positive response to our Rooftop Victory Garden from articles, word-of-mouth, weblogs, etc., UHC may be unable to answer everyone’s specific questions regarding their proposed rooftop agriculture project, but go here to help you get started.
May 29, 2007
Rooftop agriculture progress [superceded]
From left to right: Concord grape (tall brown vine), satellite dish (big white thing), buckwheat (short with red stems), Geof Prairie (taller-than-average white guy, red shirt), fava beans (leafy plant in foreground)
It’s been a very difficult year so far for agriculture, especially on a Chicago roof, but with better weather comes more progress at the Rooftop Victory Gardens at True Nature Foods.
May 10, 2007
Deconstruction, the process of carefully dismantling a building in order to salvage components for reuse, results in products for sale, a trained labor force, and improved environmental quality by keep air and water cleaner and diverting thousands of tons of material from overtaxed landfills.
Demolition, on the other hand, results in garbage for the landfill and is often a public nuisance and environmental hazard.
UHC is helping make deconstruction a real possibility in Chicago. Ted Reiff (pictured above, center, with members of UHC) of The ReUse People of America is in town to meet with local government, contractors, potential clients, and to continue to scope out our area.
May 9, 2007
New online content
Even with our limited staff and funds, we’re making an effort to make more content accessible to visitors.
UHC Lecture Series: 1) Fabric in Architecture slideshow is now available online.
Please let us know how we’re doing or what you’d like to see more of by letting us hear from you.
April 20, 2007
UHC Earth Week events April 16-22
For the University of Chicago’s Earth Week events, UHC will present an overview on deconstruction and its collaboration with The ReUse People of America to help provide a viable alternative to demolition in the Chicagoland area. Read more.
UHC will also be promoting sustainability at events at Northside College Preparatory High School, Northeastern Illinois University, and True Nature Foods for Earth Week.
April 16, 2007
Seedball preparation at UHC meeting (left); sprouting seedballs at Columbia College D.I.Y. show
See some updated photos (click View Slideshow).
April 1, 2007
Flight the Blight with UHC
UHC’s entry in Columbia College’s show Pass It On: Connecting Contemporary Do-It-Yourself Culture is “Fight the Blight - Fling Some Green” and features a very simple, cheap way to vegetate abandoned city lots.
Columbia College Chicago
619 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605
Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm.
The show runs March 1-April 14, 2007.
See our Do-It-Yourself: Seedballs project page.
March 1, 2007
An Inconvenient Oscar
This 2006 film featuring an almost-President of the United States, bar graphs, polar bears in peril, and, most importantly, the science and the truth (no matter how inconvenient) about global warming just won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.
February 25, 2007
Film screening, unboxing UHC
A great, busy weekend at UHC.
The documentary The God Squad and the Case of the Northern Spotted Owl was screened for UHC by its writer, producer, director, and cinematographer Emily Hart. Read more.
UHC member Geof Prairie unveiled Unboxing Sustainability, a DVD produced by Columbia College which features UHC along with other local organizations whose work ties in with the ideas explored in Massive Change at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
We also discussed ideas for UHC’s entry in the upcoming Do-It-Yourself show at Columbia College - stay tuned.
February 13, 2007
This year looks like it’s shaping up to be a great one for UHC.
Thanks to all our members, supporters, and visitors to the website - welcome!
See what we’ve been up to so far this year.
January 17, 2007
GreenBean on a green roof
The Rooftop Victory Garden for True Nature Foods is featured on GreenBean. Erik Olsen, who takes time out of a busy schedule managing the Green Permit Program for the Chicago Department of Construction and Permits, maintains his own blog of built, in-progress, and unbuilt green buildings in Chicago.
December 1, 2006
UHC goes Massive
Eight members of UHC attended today’s Massive Change and the City: Global Visionaries Symposium to hear speakers such as Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand, biologist John Todd, and evolutionary economist Hazel Henderson.
Special thanks to Chicago’s Department on the Environment, who were kind enough to sponsor us.
November 18, 2006
As you read this, food is growing on a Chicago roof in the Rooftop Victory Garden for True Nature Foods.
November 3, 2006
UHC on you and yours
Hey, look up and to the left… we have a new logo!
Support UHC with organic cotton T-shirts (pictured above), messenger bags, ceramic mugs, and pretty much anything else. Go to Cafe Press (or click the T-shirt) for UHC merchandise.
Proceeds benefit your favorite (and maybe only?) struggling nonprofit that advocates and actually helps implement sustainable concepts and practices in urban environments.
September 11, 2006
Grow, green roof, grow!
See more on the food-producing roof test plot… and the big zucchini.
September 9, 2006
Deconstruction - more info
More information is available as promised during our lecture on deconstruction.
August 15, 2006
UHC on TV
Mike Repkin before the Channel 11 camera at True Nature Foods
July 30, 2006
Green roof test module in progress
Over at Echo Studio, there’s something other than a fiddler on the roof.
July 14, 2006
See the latest photos of the UHC garden in Evanston. Maybe you can eat part of it with us!
July 14, 2006
A variety of trees were sold this weekend to raise money for UHC operations, projects, and to encourage folks to vegetate their urban environment. Plants included grape vines, dogwood, and black locust.
Contact us if you’d like to make a purchase.
May 15, 2006
Board of Directors at Dominican University
The Board of Directors at Dominican University. Left to right: President Mike Repkin, Secretary Dave Hampton, Vice-President Anna Glenn
MBA Students Diondai Brown and John West crafted the plan over the past six weeks as part of a requirement for Prof. Robert Miller’s graduate class in entrepreneurship at Dominican University.
Thanks so much to the team and to Prof. Miller for inviting us to be a part of the class - we wish you well in your future endeavors and appreciate your hard work.
More photos to come soon
April 27, 2006
UHC Lecture Series looking for an audience!
Please check out our ongoing lecture series if you’re in town.
April 25, 2006
Go, grow, go!
In preparation for the green roof grant award-winning True Nature Foods Victory Gardens Project, UHC’s seedlings are growing, but we’ll need lots more as the weather gets warmer. Basil seedlings (pictured above) reach for the light.
March 27, 2006
Internships now available!
Due to the success of UHC, interns are now needed to develop and manage several projects. Please contact us if you have skills or interest in the following areas:
College credit is available and all internships are unpaid. Other benefits include career development, recognition and promotion on our website, basic membership, mentorship from practicing professionals, and association with a one-of-a-kind resource in the Chicagoland area!
Include a resume and coverletter.
February 22, 2006
Dominican University students help UHC
MBA Students Diondai Brown and John West from Prof. Robert Miller’s graduate class in entrepreneurship at Dominican University are helping UHC better define its mission and vision to come up with a proposal to carry us into the coming years.
February 17, 2006
UHC project receives inaugural City of Chicago Green Roof Grant
There are a few things wrong with this article (like our name!), but see “Green roof project takes off” from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Contact us to receive a copy of the press kit or the winning application.
January 20, 2006
Disadvantaged kids from across Chicago learn to cook and eat what they grow with UHC's help
Disadvantaged East Garfield Park area Green teens Learn to Use Nature's Gifts Sustainably - both in and out of the classroom.
We reimagined an expansive public high school landscape as an educational, sustainable, accessible, and aesthetic whole. Now we're making it happen.
Reconnecting disabled students to their surrounding environment through restorative landscape technologies. Winner of Mayor Daley's 2010 "Gardener of the Year Award".
A sustainable garden nourishes residents in recovery from addiction as well as a food pantry and a cafe.
(UHCi ) Launched in 2012! - A coherent urban environmental educational program to provide hands-on training to a broad public, with a strong focus on urban agriculture.
A rooftop garden is just the first step in retrofitting a 4-building complex into a sustainable, regenerative community.
A brainstorming event to re-envision a schoolyard