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Place Lab digest • Issue #22 • Friday, December 9, 2016
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The Place Lab digest is a weekly round-up of pertinent news, opinion, investigations, and explorations of the arts, architecture, and city-building in Chicago and beyond.

Happenings @ Place Lab


Arts + Public Life, which established Place Lab in 2014, is leading an ambitious redevelopment project on Chicago’s South Side. Spearheaded by the vision of internationally renowned artist and urban planner, Theaster Gates, the Arts Block is a planned cultural corridor on Garfield Boulevard in Washington Park. We invite you to join us from 1–3pm on the last Friday of every month for guided tours of the Arts Block.

In addition to a guided tour of the Arts Block, tour groups will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the Place Lab team to learn about Gates's various projects, and discuss the work being undertaken all across Chicago's South Side

Learn more and sign-up for our tours here.

What Place Lab is digesting

Climate change displacement is becoming the new gentrification—here’s how to stop it
Stephen Zacks, The Architect's Newspaper

Partisan political discourse still pretends as if there’s a climate change “debate,” yet the government is already acting extensively to prevent crises from rising global temperatures. Across the country, local and federal agencies are working with architects and planners to protect communities and redevelop neighborhoods in the aftermath of climate-related natural disasters. But what happens to residents who are too poor to get out of the way of storms—and too poor to return—and why is anyone rushing to live in disaster zones?
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Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Why Trump’s Use of the Words ‘Urban Renewal’ Is Scary for Cities
Emily Badger The New York Times

His language has an odd ring to it, not solely for marrying Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal with the post-World War II era of urban renewal. If Mr. Trump was reaching for a broadly uplifting concept — renewal — he landed instead on a term with very specific, and very negative, connotations for the population he says he aims to help. Among scholars and many city dwellers, urban renewal is remembered for its vast destruction of minority communities, when entire neighborhoods were razed for housing, highways and civic projects.
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Chicago to host global mayors’ forum on urban waterfront development
Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago

Recognizing how waterways have evolved from hubs of transportation and manufacturing into new public amenities and catalysts for development in each of their respective cities, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo plan to co-host a global meeting in March to discuss the topic further.

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How Judith Rodin Created A New Model for Philanthropic Funding At The Rockefeller Foundation
Ben Paynter, Fast Co.

...during her 11-year tenure at the helm, Rodin has added two more complex overriding priorities. That communities should be designed for more resilience—the ability to survive and thrive in the face of increasingly unpredictable natural or manmade disasters, often spurred by climatic change or hiccups in the global economy. And that Rockefeller shouldn’t be alone in writing checks to fund that, or really any other pressing cause: Why not structure grants that encourage the investment and participation from other foundations, governments, or businesses who see payoffs (both social and at times profitable) in social change?

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Healthy Places: Improving Health through Placemaking”
Project for Public Spaces 

This report uses placemaking as a holistic framework for creating healthy communities. As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, placemaking is a collaborative process for reshaping the public realm—a community’s streets, parks and other public spaces—in order to maximize shared value. The exciting projects and case studies highlighted in the study run the gamut from farmers markets, community gardens, and public plazas, to efforts to make streets more amenable to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Read more
PDF of report
Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
Do urban design guidelines help or hinder growing cities?
John King, San Francisco Chronicle

The new guidelines, if approved next year by the Planning Commission, would amplify rather than supplant such keystones of city policy as the Urban Design Plan that for the most part dates from 1971. It wouldn’t affect the low-slung residential districts of the city, which have their own guidelines, and it wouldn’t alter the height or bulk of what’s allowed in the neighborhoods and commercial districts covered by the new guidelines.
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Justice by Algorithm
George Joseph, CityLab

Baltimore’s Pretrial Release Services, like many agencies nationwide, uses a risk assessment tool to give defendants proceeding through the court system scores based upon statistical likelihoods of failure to appear or rearrest. These scores are supposed to help pretrial service agents recommend bail decisions to judges based on objective, standardized criteria. But no one else involved in the case, including the defendant and their attorney, gets to see or even hear about their score, much less the impact it has on their bail recommendation. 
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The AIA Finally Awards Its Gold Medal to a Black Architect—Posthumously
Kriston Capps, CityLab

Bestowing awards on the basis of formal design accomplishments alone is a stance that continues to reward white men and disregard women and architects of color. Awards for design reward privilege—not just privilege, but privilege for sure. Women and minorities, who have not historically benefited from the same access to education, professional advancement, clientele, or opportunities, have not produced the same level of design at the same velocity as their white male counterparts. And women architects and architects of color do not have that same degree of access still.

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Achieving Community: Let’s get real
Scott Doyon, Placemakers

...the way communities form and the manners by which they care for and protect one another evolved organically across thousands of years of human history in which one thing was consistently true: We needed each other. And we knew it. Now, for the past century or so, a host of advancements in standard of living, energy extraction, technology, health care, comfort, etc. has given many — particularly the affluent — a false sense that this is no longer the case. We don’t need each other. We’re self-made, rugged individualists and if we need something it’s surely something that can be purchased. We’ll just make a call.

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Saudi Arabia: Land of Female-Led Social Entrepreneurship?
trevor Williams, Global Atlanta

Ms. Abaid doesn’t deny the challenges that women face in Saudi Arabia. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Gender Gap Index, only 19 percent of the Saudi workforce in the country is female, despite the fact that 53 percent of university graduates are women. The country ranks No. 130 out of 142 countries on the index overall. But with trailblazers like business executive Lubna Al Olayan of Olayan Financing Co. to look up to, things are gradually changing.

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Columbia’s Identity Crisis
Ted C. Fisherman, Chicago Magazine

Over the course of its nearly 130-year history, this open-door school for the creative arts in the South Loop has turned out more than 100,000 alumni, many of whom have gone on to great things. Former Columbia students have garnered, by the school’s own count, six Oscars, two Grammys, 20 Emmys, two Tonys, and two Pulitzers. Many more have found rewarding careers in art, film, music, theater, television, radio, photojournalism, and, more recently, digital gaming and design...After peaking at 12,500 students in 2008, enrollment has been crashing.
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From our bookshelf:

Cities for People
by Jan Gehl

Purchase it here
5 Housing Experts Weigh In on HUD Secretary Nominee Ben Carson
Oscar Perry Abello, Next City

Neither Trump nor Carson have made many policy statements relevant to HUD. Trump did deliver an urban policy speech in Charlotte on Oct. 27, laying out his “urban renewal” agenda. Some of the proposals he offered come through transportation bills or tax credits, which do not necessarily fall under HUD’s purview...If Carson, the Trump administration or the Republican-controlled Congress want to take a hatchet to rental assistance, the picture is already bleak. Public housing, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and other rental assistance programs make up nearly 80 percent of HUD’s budget, yet only one in four families eligible for rental assistance in the U.S. actually get it.
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Local documentary web series gives voice to arts community post-election
Ariel Parrella-Aureli, The Columbia Chronicle

The filmmakers chose to create a web series called “Transition to Power,” which will release one episode a week leading up to the inauguration with a final viewing party of the 10-episode series on Jan. 20, which Babbin called an “anti-inauguration” screening event. The web series features diverse artists and activists in Chicago who are opening up a dialogue about the election and its effect on their creative work...Collaborator of the series, Sixty Inches From Center, is an online arts publication and archive that supports arts media not seen in a mainstream light. Tempestt Hazel, a Chicago writer and curator in tune with the local creative community, founded the publication in 2010.
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We Need More Black People Rooting for Tech Entrepreneurs, Not Just Football Players
Andre Perry PhD, The Root

We talk about the lack of diversity in technology and dearth of economic opportunities for black and Hispanic young people as a problem now. But in the future, it will be a major economic crisis once people of color become the majority of our workforce. If our K-12 and postsecondary institutions haven’t prepared this current generation of young students of color to compete for tech and engineering jobs, the whole nation will suffer.

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What are you thinking?

Is there something you'd like to see more of in our digest? Topics, interest areas, or subject matter that we're missing? Just havea  couple of notes?

Let us know
Place Lab is a team of professionals from the diverse fields of law, urban planning, architecture, design, social work, arts administration, and gender and cultural studies.  A partnership between Arts + Public Life, an initiative of UChicago Arts, and the Harris School of Public Policy, Place Lab is a catalyst for mindful urban transformation and creative redevelopment. Led by renowned artist and University of Chicago faculty member Theaster Gates, this joint enterprise merges Chicago Harris’ Cultural Policy Center’s commitment to cultural policy and evidence-based analysis with Place Lab’s work at Arts + Public Life on arts- and culture-led neighborhood transformation.
Copyright © 2016 Place Lab, All rights reserved.

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