Two participants take the community Voicebox quadricycle for a test drive in the park.
Community Voicebox is the winning project of Bill Vassilakis and Jeff Munie from The Air We Breathe competition. It’s about listening to and recording the stories and thoughts of residents when it comes to two major and visible sources of pollution in the Lower West Side neighborhoods of Bridgeport, Little Village, and Pilsen: the Fisk and Crawford coal-burning power plants.
When it comes to documenting residents’ responses to the environmental hazards surrounding them, the Community Voicebox keeps it simple: a quadricycle and an iPad. Read more about the concept and my interview with Bill on Steven Can Plan – today on Grid Chicago I’ll be exploring how Bill and Jeff get the Community Voicebox around town.
I caught up with Bill and Jeff at Stearns Quarry Park in Bridgeport on Saturday, August 6. I got to observe first hand how they record the thoughts and ideas of passersby, as well as the “device” they use to travel from site to site.
The Rhoades Car was acquired from out of state via Craigslist to transport the Community Voicebox operators and their materials. The brakes and the shifters are a little janky. They had to purchase a new disc brake for one of the wheels. It uses several proprietary parts. But it rolls well, and they’ve hit 16 MPH down Loomis Street. Watch this video of the quad bike rolling down Halsted Street.
They envision installing a canopy over the quadricycle to protect the on-board equipment from rain and snow. What’s on-board? For now, just an iPad with a video camera and a chair for participants to sit in while they record their thoughts and reactions to the spring of pollution behind.
Get more information
- Visit the Community Voicebox blog to watch the on-site interviews
- View the complete slideshow of Community Voicebox photos and graphics
- Brush up on your knowledge of Fisk and Crawford power plants
- Read my interview with Bill, and learn more about The Air We Breathe competition
A visitor to the park from the Lincoln Park neighborhood, and energy efficiency professional, gives his thoughts on the Fisk power plant.
The Community Voicebox vehicle is an evolving enterprise. This graphic was seen at The Air We Breathe gallery in June.
The Fisk power plant in Pilsen is a contributing cause of tens of premature deaths each year, according to a 2002 study from Harvard researchers.