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Abstract

Social interactions create connections between people, developing networks of support essential for individuals and groups. The formation of collectives like local communities rely on social interactions to foster friendships, networks of support, and build a larger sense of community. Considering the importance of socialization in the construction of communities: where do these quintessential interactions unfold in the physical environment? Looking at the scale of a neighborhood, this paper will explore Chicago’s Little Village, and the physical manifestation of community in the built environment. In other words, where does the local community gather to build connections to people and place? Through detailed in-person observation and interviews with local residents, this research will unveil how community is created in this Chicago neighborhood, both in specific locations and in a broader sense. This paper is organized to present background information, followed by analysis, and concludes with a reflection on the prevalence of Latinidad for Little Village community members. First, I frame the research in the context of Latino Urbanism and urban design. Then I present the history and present state of the Little Village neighborhood as an immigrant neighborhood and Mexican American enclave in Chicago. Next, I highlight how locals have created a sense of place aesthetically along with how locals experience community in these spaces. Finally, I conclude by emphasizing the role of latino heritage in creating a sense of community in Little Village. The research concludes La Villita Park is the primary location that creates a sense of community in Chicago’s Little Village.

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