Update: The Bungalow Belt Map Twins have been identified! Thank you so much to all who expressed interest. Watch the twins' conversations here!
We are excited to announce that the Chicago Bungalow Association and Folded Map are teaming up to do a Bungalow Belt Map Twin project!
By now, you may be familiar with the powerful Folded Map™ project, an artist’s ongoing investigation of what urban segregation looks like and how it impacts Chicago residents.
This past July, CBA members tuned in to our webinar with the artist behind Folded Map, Tonika Lewis Johnson. At the beginning of the webinar, Tonika shared how her personal story inspired the project. As a highschooler commuting from her home in Englewood to attend Lane Tech in North Center, Tonika noticed the changing scenery as she traveled north from 63rd to Addison, mostly along Western Avenue.
Later, as an artist reflecting on the disparities she observed as a teenager, she got the idea to “fold the map.”
“I imagined, if you were to fold Chicago’s map at its zero point, which is Madison Street... the neighborhoods that would touch Englewood would be Edgewater, Andersonville, and the lower part of Rogers Park. And so I photographed addresses that were similar on those same streets,” she explained during the webinar. Above, you can see one example of these “address pairs” on Ashland Avenue.
What started as a photographic study of address pairs quickly evolved into a multimedia exploration with video interviews.
“I photographed addresses, homes that were the same address [or a] similar address on the same street… I eventually met people who lived in those homes and I started to invite them to meet each other.”
“Map twins” like Brighid and Carmen (pictured above), who live on similar addresses along Winchester Avenue—one on the North Side and the other on the South Side—agreed to meet each other and participate in video interviews.
“My hope was for us to really talk about what we can do as individuals to break out of this system, this normalcy of segregation, and start to connect with each other,” Tonika said.
Folding the Map on Chicago’s Bungalow Belt
Members of the Chicago Bungalow Association live all throughout the Bungalow Belt, on the South, West, and North Sides. Despite neighborhood differences, CBA members share a common pride in their vintage homes.
We are currently looking for one or two pairs of CBA members who own Chicago bungalows on the North Side or South Side who would like to participate.
How will it work? The selected Bungalow Belt Map Twin volunteers would be interviewed by the artist, and would be asked questions like: How did you come to live in your neighborhood?; How would you describe your neighborhood?; Is everything that you need on a day-to-day basis accessible in your neighborhood?; What was the home purchase process like for you?
Volunteers will then be asked to complete the Folded Map Action Kit (more on that below) and share their experiences at a webinar later this year.
Volunteers would not need to find their own map twin. Simply fill out the form at the end of this blog to let us know you’re interested, and we will work with Tonika to select the pairs.
Folded Map Action Kit (Anyone Can Participate!)
Anyone can have an interactive, introspective and intentional real-world experience of their “map twin” neighborhood using the new Folded Map Action Kit! Click here to request a kit or download and print at home.
Guided by the Folded Map™ project, the Folded Map Action Kit helps you learn more about the disparities between Chicago neighborhoods, the structural reasons behind them, and ultimately make connections to an area you’ve never been or where you have only a narrow understanding.
Maria Krysan, a professor of sociology at UIC and co-author of a book on residential segregation, works with Tonika on several extensions and expansions of Folded Map, including the Action Kit. She also happens to own a Chicago bungalow and be a CBA member!
“The goal of unpacking these stories is not to place blame; it is to work to identify ways to break this cycle, individually and collectively,” says Maria. “So what can we do? One way is to educate ourselves about places that our social networks, lived experiences, and the media have kept off our radars or have created biased perceptions of. This is the goal of the Action Kit. It invites you to create your own story about your neighborhood, read the stories of our [map twins]... and learn about and visit a twin neighborhood. Experience it. Meet people. See for yourself. Fold the Map.”
Let’s fold the Bungalow Belt map! Complete the Action Kit and share your experiences at foldedmapproject.com/submit. If you are interested in volunteering as a Map Twin, fill out the form below:
[Update 3/19/21: The Bungalow Belt Map Twins have been identified! Thank you so much to all who expressed interest. Stay tuned for the reveal!]