Environmental Justice and Diaspora:
El Paseo Community Garden

Environmental Justice and Diaspora: El Paseo Community Garden

In 2023, the Mapping Global Chicago student cohort lended their efforts to El Paseo Community Garden in Pilsen, volunteering to help with general maintenance and upkeep while investigating four topics related to life in and around the garden.

Research Areas included:

Each group also created a podcast to inform listeners about their topics.

Map of Pilsen

El Paseo

El Paseo Community Garden, located between West 21st St and West Cullerton St along a historically polluted railroad corridor, is a brownfield site that has been revitalized as a community garden to foster community and promote wellness. They host myriad healing events to nurture community well-being. The garden engages volunteers and community members through activities and events focused on stewardship, conservation, placemaking, partnerships, and community gardening. The garden is one of the many NeighborSpace-protected and community managed spaces in Chicago.

With over an acre of green space, El Paseo features a wide array of natural and built spaces including a dog run, fitness area, a group yoga and exercise space, wildflower meadows, and a native plant permaculture space. The garden also has an apiary, individual and community food gardens, as well as several multipurpose spaces well equipped for teaching and performance/exhibition events.


Pilsen is a neighborhood on the Lower West Side of Chicago with a fascinating history of cultural mixing displayed through paintings on walls of various neighborhood buildings, laid in the foundation of local political movements, and underlain in all facets of the area. Despite facing increasing gentrification, community members are collectively fighting back to stay in their homes and to remain part of Pilsen.

Map of Pilsen