Project Timeline: 3 – 6 Weeks
The UIC quad is one of the most passed-through places on campus. Situated between Student Center East and the UIC Library, many students have to go through the quad, some multiple times each day, to get where they need to be. Students are familiar with this space as a vast slab of concrete right in the middle of East Campus and this view is appalling to some people. Efforts to revamp and update the space into a more beautiful space have been talked about for years. Recently there were two concepts proposed to completely update the quad, one of which involved adding a lot of green space. These were presented to students to vote on but both of these ideas will cost large amounts of money and take long amounts of time to fully complete. On top of this the maintenance and upkeep costs of keeping this new quad in a good condition add more time and money into the equation.
So while these concepts are being talked about and debated on, why can’t we do something small to improve the quad in its current condition? I believe something that can practically be done in a short amount of time at a low cost is converting some of the quad’s less populated areas into greenspace. The areas that I have selected will make better use of the space that is there without adding or removing space. The idea is to remove the concrete currently present in these areas and create areas of rich soil and fertilizer in which trees, grass, and other plants can be planted. One of the benefits of this project would be an improvement to the quad’s aesthetic which will give students a greater sense of pride in their school’s campus. Secondly, psychologists have conducted experiments to support their hypotheses that being in nature produces more productivity and adding this element to the UIC quad would add a little more “nature” to the campus environment. Perhaps a less noticeable impact but one of great important is that this would increase the air quality control in the quad. With more plants to absorb the carbon dioxide in the air and produce breathable oxygen this will both help filter out pollutants and provide better air for students to breathe.
Preliminary Project Budget: $4,000-6,000
This is a small project that will be a great improvement on our existing quad. A lot of the work could be done on a volunteer basis by those who might be interested. The only labor cost would be the cost of removing the concrete that was there so that soil could be put down. I talked to one of my friends who is an architecture student and she says that this can be done for 2 to 3 thousand dollars. She also told me that getting plants and soil for the space could cost anywhere within the same range. It should only take several weeks to implement but, of course, the plants will grow at their own pace.