By: Daniel Roman
As the third semester in the graduate level courses takes flight and start to pick up, there are some things that are pretty much required to have set, one of them being the site of the project. Before I left on break I had made a decision that I wanted to look into a couple sites near Carbondale, I think it is important to be able to visit a site as much as possibly, so picking a site that was near would only be able to work in my benefit. That being said the site I picked was Cobden IL, which is about 20 minutes away, give or take.
Looking close to Cobden it is made up of just over 1,100 people, 55% percent of that being male. It is very interesting to be able to analyze a town smaller than the size of the high school or even grammar school one attended. I am from Chicago where there are schools with a couple thousand students at any given time. The average age in Cobden is of 39 years which is above the average of Illinois of 37. The average house income is lower than the average of the state; Cobden is at 36,340 while Illinois is at 56,210. One of the main reasons I picked Cobden comes from its diversity, a diversity that even I was surprised to fine when I came to Carbondale, there is a large Hispanic population in southern Illinois, and Cobden has grown to be a location where people have gone to raise their families and work. Cobden at the moment is made up of almost 30% of its population is Hispanic, while 68% being white. Having a good connection with your heritage has always been important to me; I love the idea of being able to take them into account for a project of this importance to me and my career. Even though I don’t consider myself to go a lot in the urban design aspect of the field, I have seen the type of impact a project like this can have on someone.
During my 4th year I was able to work hand in hand with another local town, which was Murphysboro, there we split into groups, and each group was in charge of a different area of Murphysboro and was in charge to help develop the area based on what the people wanted. We had a towns meeting where we talked to everyone who came out and where able to interact with the people who just move in to the people who had been there since they were little kids. Those are the ones that really hit the spot, when they talked about their town with so much love and all they wanted was to see their town improve. When we came back at the end of the semester to present the projects a lot of familiar faces came to see what we had come up with. A lot of great feedback was given, but it was realistic as some people not all being happy. In particular for the project we relocated the Mc Donald’s in town and when we relocated to an empty lot, well in the meeting there was a gentleman whom owned a building which would be next to the new location of the Mc. Donald’s and he didn’t want it there. Even though the new location was an ideal location that would help the community, he just didn’t want it there. So it just came to realization how hard it was to please everyone.
The experience I got from working with the people from Murphysboro I hope I can have the same type of experience with Cobden. I do plan on reaching out to them and hopefully I can set up something along the same meetings. So far I do know some people that have been living in the town for many years. They will be able to start giving me a good idea as to what a typical day in Cobden really is.