‘Folded Map Project’ brings Chicago’s residents together

Chicago’s segregated residents are coming together thanks to the ‘Folded Map Project’.

The “Folded Map Project” in Chicago photographs corresponding addresses on the North and South sides of the city to highlight the effects of segregation.

Artist Tonika Johnson initially started the project to compare two homes with the same address, one located in the predominantly Black area and one in the predominantly white area.

But the project’s focus quickly shifted from the houses to its residents and Johnson began introducing the “map twins” to each other.

“You know, as projects progress, it just naturally evolved into me one day asking one resident if they wanted to meet their map twin resident,” Johnson explained. “And they said, ‘yes’. And I was like, oh my gosh, what am I going to have them talk about?”

She set up meetings for the residents to have discussions about racial inequality, safety and property value in their neighbourhoods.

“There was like a genuine connection, right?” Maurice Perkins, a South Side resident, said. “It was, like, nothing forced or fake. We had a conversation, learned each other’s differences and community. The things that I talked about or maybe spoke about that I would like to see here in Englewood, they already had out there. And to even – when we spoke – to know that they couldn’t even imagine being in a community, or a community not having the things that, it’s, I guess, basic necessities. So, yeah, it was interesting.”

Tonika says the next step is to help people desegregate their cities, starting with small steps such as going to meet their map twin or running errands in different parts of town.

This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Seena Khalil.