Light blue and white WA|K-H graphic. WALK-H is centered on the image with a subtitle below it that reads "Walkability assessment initiative Kedzie-Homan." Surround the text are animation-like depictions of shoes, a bike, Nichols Tower, footsteps, and wayfinding signage.Designed by SAIC alum Kai Lin Catherine Cao


WA|K-H is an ongoing community project focused on neighborhood walkability that began in Fall 2019 with community activists, youth, SAIC faculty, and alumni. In 2019, students focused on identifying barriers to walking in the 0.5-mile radius of the Kedzie-Homan Blue line. For a copy of the final report please email Jaclyn Jacunski at jjacun@saic.edu

In fall 2020 community youth, Lawndale transportation activists, and SAIC degree-seeking students continued the project forward by collaboratively contributing to the initiative through three WA|K-H classes. This three-part curriculum — made up of Lawndale Civic Design youth class, SAIC Design @ Homan Square, Design Action: North Lawndale — fulfilled the fall 2020 phase of WA|K-H

In Spring  and Summer of 2021 and 2022, the expansion of WA|K-H programming to include two 8-week spring and summer 2022 Lawndale Civic Design courses and paid internship for North Lawndale high schoolers, which engaged students in community-based artmaking, identifying and developing key elements for an Asphalt Art mural installed at Kedzie and Homan in October 2022. The installation of the streetscape interventions was marked with a large-scale community event. 

WA|K-H engaged North Lawndale high school students in the research and design of the final streetscape interventions for the Kedzie-Homan intersection through the Lawndale Civic Design Course. These high school students put their personal markers of investment into the project through the self-portraits painted and installed facing the intersection, “watching over” their work.

Streetscape improvements included repaving the street (fulfilled by the Chicago Department of Transportation), the installation of delineator poles painted by Douglass Park Art and Community Festival attendees, and self portraits by high school students on a vacant lot facing the intersection. Sidewalk paintings done by community members used two motifs from nature: butterflies, representing the transition to safety, and koi fish, which speak to the spread of Asian carp from the American South to Chicago (mirroring the Great Migration) and an examination of environmental justice and “invasive” species.

We will love your thoughts on the Asphalt Mural located on the corners of Homan & Harrison. Please let us know your thoughts by filling out our survey.

In the youth class Lawndale Civic Design, Lawndale youth conducted research that examined barriers to walkability at the Harrison-Homan intersection by conducting interviews and collecting oral histories. The data collected in this course then informs the visual and physical design solutions that SAIC degree students produced in several Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) degree classes. Youth in Lawndale Civic Design developed and nurtured their observational skills, gathered oral histories, and collaborated with college-age and graduate-level students at SAIC. This collaboration provides a reciprocal benefit to both Lawndale youth and SAIC students: It gives youth an opportunity to visually communicate the impact of neighborhood gas stations on their community while offering SAIC students experience in developing resident-led, community design solutions.

Green geometric shapes with quotes from community members' feedback layered on top of a bright blue background. Solid and dotted lines connect the green shapes that relate to one  another. Green and brown hearts decorate the negative space surrounding the green shapes.

Data visualization by North Lawndale Civic Design Student Intern Ravin, November 2020.

Lawndale Civic Design

Instructor: Carrie Wright

Fall 2020 - Mondays 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Lawndale Civic Design engages neighborhood youth through design and urban infrastructure and coordinates projects with SAIC Design @ Homan Square degree class. This class dives into aesthetics, ways to use visual language to represent ideas, and connections between social and physical environments. The students’ work culminates in an end-of-year exhibition in which a portfolio piece is displayed. One of the course’s outcomes is to learn how to visualize data through the use of mood boards to describe North Lawndale’s neighborhood aesthetic. These were then shared with AIADO degree students.


To watch the student presentations from our Fall 2020 youth course, visit our YouTube Channel.


Students and faculty gather in a circle around a project at the Nichols Tower

Image provided by AIADO

AIADO 4101 001 (2424) - SAIC Design @ Homan Square

Instructor: Eric Hotchkiss

Fall 2020 - Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The SAIC Design @ Homan Square class operates as a "pro bono” design consultancy for residents of the North Lawndale neighborhood, offering solutions for a broad range of matters that residents bring, matters, both simple and complex. The objective of the class is not to produce "objects," but actionable solutions. While these solutions may take the form of built objects, they may also take the form of social programming or campaigning. In the fall 2020 WA|K-H collaboration, SAIC Degree Students engaged with youth living near and using the Homan-Harrison gas station to develop designs that address issues of safety and walkability in the area. Together they created a comprehensive plan for the intersection, which will be executed in the spring 2021 semester.

AIADO 4115 001/ HPRES 4115 001 - Design Action: North Lawndale

Instructors: Odile Compagnon and Lynette Stuhlmacher

Fall 2020 - Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This interdisciplinary course will address and highlight North Lawndale’s current initiatives and build upon the analysis of previous SAIC actions in North Lawndale to propose, collaboratively with community organizations and youth groups, a method for sustained development and trust. The studio will aim at answering the following question: how can designers and artists work with local agents, social activists, artisans, business owners, and contractors to develop interactive and creative programs?

From a multidisciplinary and participatory perspective, Design Action: Crossing Island, the 2020 iteration of SAIC’s Design Action Studio, imagined constructs — real or fictional, systems or rooms — to define the future of urban navigation, allowing for the definition of one’s personal identity in the city, separate from others, yet acknowledging and respecting the comfort of others.

Revisit us in May 2021 to see our comprehensive project report of the resident led solution addressing the barriers to walking for Homan/Harrison intersection transforming it into a Gateway to the neighborhood and making the Homan corridor walkable compiled by architect Craig Stevenson.

Portrait of Odile Compagnon, posed frontally, smiling. She is wearing black oval frames, a black blouse, a gray collared jacket, and a green and black necklace.

Odile Compagnon

Odile gathered information from these aforementioned classes to collate the full plan of research, data, designs and prototypes of the Homan/Harrison plaza area. This report will document the work toward the group collaboration towards building a place for community congregation and social cohesion addressing the community’s concerns of walking safety in that area. Thank you Odile for your collaboration and making WALK-H and WALK 2.0 a success. Learn more about Odile Compagnon.

North Lawndale Coordinating Council Committee (NLCCC)

Rodney Brown, NLCCC Executive Committee Member

NLCCC Transportation Committee leaders

  • Rochelle Jackson, Chair of Transportation Committee, SAIC alum and North Lawndale community activist
  • Yvonne Shields, Transportation Committee member
  • Chris Brown, Transportation Committee member

DRW College Prep

Boxing Out Negativity

Faith Community Baptist Church

SAIC Faculty

Odile Compagnon,  Architect-in-Residence and SAIC Faculty

Eric Hotchkiss,  Faculty Lead

Ash Busse, Teaching Assistant

Carrie Wright, Youth Instructor

Karli Honroth, Project Assistant

SAIC Staff

Jaclyn Jacunski, Director of Civic Engagement


Taykhoom Biviji, Office of Engagement Project Manager


Becky Borowicz, Senior Administrative Director, Architecture, 

Interior Architecture, Designed Objects


Hannah Morrow, Administrative Director, Architecture, 

Interior Architecture, Designed Objects