Elijah Teague

Hoop Removal

as a “Crime Fighting” Tactic

Fighting basketball hoop removal through community engagement and youth development. 

Over 50% of basketball courts in Chicago are missing hoops as a result of public officials' “crime fighting” tactics that were originally developed in the ’90s. On a micro level these “crime fighting” tactics disproportionately target lower income neighbourhoods and place added pressure on a demographic that is already considered “at risk.” On a macro level these “crime fighting” tactics have deeply rooted racist implications, the main one being that black men are associated with criminality. 

Challenge

This project challenged me to embrace the systems thinking and qualitative aspects of my education and allowed me to view the entire ecosystem that facilitated this design flaw in the first place. It may seem insignificant to focus so much attention on a few basketball hoops, but in this case, addressing the smaller issues allowed me to address the larger problems our society faces.

Outcome

Take Back the Court is a community organization that locates neighborhoods experiencing hoop removal, cooperates with the community to reinstall hoops, and ensures a sustainable cycle of community development and youth empowerment through sports. Take Back the Court has two goals: (1) support the youth of the world in recognizing and collectively challenging the factors that threaten their security and well-being and (2) just let the kids play ball.

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