25th November 2017

Disused embankment in Back Of The Yards

Today I revisited The Plant (marked X) to see the urban farms outside the facility. Afterwards I walked a few blocks south to a disused embankment (thick black line) running through the Back Of The Yards neighbourhood (red shading). Note the relative position of the Bronzeville neighbourhood, my site of study, over the Dan Ryan Expressway to the east.

This embankment would have served the stockyards before they wound down over the course of the mid-twentieth century. Though it is now overgrown, and I didn’t see anybody on top of it, the clear paths worn into the dirt indicate that some sort of activity occurs here – perhaps something as innocent as dog-walking, or as shady as drug-dealing. As I was snapping some pictures a police car pulled up at street level and rang the siren once, beckoning me down from the bridge. The two officers in the car told me that there is a lot of gang activity in the area and that I should be extremely cautious – one of them described the area as a ‘hotbed’ of drug crime. I headed back to the bus stop.

Note the path on the right, worn into the embankment from some sort of access/activity.

The urban farm outside The Plant. The director Jonathan Pereira showed a group of about 30 of us around.