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Place Lab digest • Issue #36 • Friday, March 17, 2017
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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

Using Discards to Build Art (and Rebuild a City)

Hilarie M. Sheets, The New York Times

This highly visible platform at the National Gallery of Art, which attracts more than five million visitors annually, shines a light on Mr. Gates’s mushrooming grass-roots revitalization project on Chicago’s South Side, which invests in people and places others have written off.

At the National Gallery, Mr. Gates has reassembled a gym floor removed from a school — one of the many that have been closed in his neighborhood and in other predominantly African-American communities around the country — into a 20-foot-by-10-foot wall piece titled “A Game of My Own.” Its basketball court lines are jumbled and now read as abstract bits of color, suggestive of a Mondrian painting.

Mr. Gates said he hoped this work could operate as both an interesting art object and as a catalyst to help the restoration of schools. “I need to live as the artist and the contractor, the dreamer and the builder,” he said. “I can’t afford to just be the dreamer in this moment, as much as I would love to.”

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Better together.

Join the Facebook group for Ethical Redevelopment.
Ethical Redevelopment makes the case for mindful city-building. By utilizing cross-city networks and cross-sector innovation, Ethical Redevelopment encapsulates a philosophy by which to shift the value system from conventional, profit-driven development practices to conscientious interventions in the urban context. The Facebook group is a free, curated, open area for discussion about Ethical Redevelopment, the evolving 9 Principles, community, policy, and other topics related to mindful-city building.

What Place Lab is digesting

Trump budget asks for $6 billion in HUD cuts, drops development grants
Jose A. DelReal, The Washington Post

The Trump administration will slash more than $6 billion in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and eliminate community development grants, according to a budget outline obtained by The Washington Post.
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Chicago Neighborhood Development Award Winners
23rd Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards

Established in 1995, the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) recognize the essential role that both non-profit and for-profit developers play in building communities in Chicago-area neighborhoods. Place Lab's Nootan Bharani, AIA, served as a jury member for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.
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Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Meet the Architects Behind Detroit’s Next Act
Aaron Foley, Next City

Detroit's rebranded downtown feels overwhelmingly white in this city that’s more than 70 percent black. Mayor Mike Duggan, lured the renowned architect, Maurice Cox, to head up his planning department. Few planning departments are headed by architects. Even fewer are headed by African-Americans. Maurice Cox can check both boxes.
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How the Design of Hotel Rooms Makes Housekeepers Invisible
David Brody, The Atlantic

“Turndown service is an especially striking display of labor..the gesture indicates, rather, that an invisible hand has been at work.” Orchestrating this fiction of magical maintenance, though, can sometimes place a worrisome burden on hotel housekeepers. Designing luxury spaces without regard to maintenance can lead to high levels of physical injury among hotel housekeepers.

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A new public art exhibition shares the stories of women in the building trades
Audrey Wachs, Architect's Newspaper

In two public plazas this month, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is using art to showcase the women who weld steel, wire trains, and paint bridges, all in honor of Women’s History Month.
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It’s complicated: A real estate market without product types
Re Journals

Millennials are changing the commercial real estate landscape, challenging traditional definitions of what makes office, industrial, retail, hotel and multifamily developments successful.
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Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
HUD explained
Patrick Sisson, Curbed

As a provider of public housing, a highly politicized topic embroiled in a legacy of segregation, HUD already deals in its fair share of hot-debated topics. But its big-picture issues can distract from the agency’s everyday scope, mission, and impact. While HUD’s future is being discussed in Washington, here’s a primer on how the agency was formed and how it operates.

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Cuts to arts funding could be detrimental to academic achievement
Amy M. Wilkinson, The Hill

Through art programs, students strengthen problem-solving and communication skills, increase their capacity for leadership and creative thinking, build community, support civic engagement, and experience social tolerance. On March 15th the Illinois State Board of Education will vote on the Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan. Arts programming is not included anywhere in the current draft of the plan as an indicator of school quality.
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Story of cities #3: the birth of Baghdad was a landmark for world civilisation
Justin Marozzi, The Guardian

If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. More than that, it was a landmark for civilisation, the birth of a city that would quickly become the cultural lodestar of the world.

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City of Chicago asks architects to envision future of riverfront
Matthew Messner, Architect's Newspaper

A group of architectural firms will work with the City of Chicago to develop design concepts for a substantial new portion to the Chicago’s quickly developing riverfront for the new Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab.

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Trump’s Plan To Gut HUD Threatens America’s Poor
Sarah Lazare, The National Memo

The Trump administration is mulling whether to slash HUD’s budget by at least $6 billion, or 14 percent, in the 2018 fiscal year. If implemented, the reductions will hit a federal agency that is already unable to meet the level of human need, thanks to systematic defunding over the course of decades.
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These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget
David Ingold, Chloe Whiteaker, Michael Keller & Hannah Recht, Bloomberg Politics

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes massive cuts across most of the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture face unprecedented discretionary funding cuts in excess of 25 percent, as Trump attempts to boost the military and national security.
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In Chicago and Philadelphia, the Difference a Park Makes
Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times

From Philadelphia to Seattle, American cities are banking on parks and public spaces to drive social and economic progress. Parks may not seem particularly urgent compared with the latest gangland murder epidemic; but the effort in Chicago to improve and expand them has, neighborhood by neighborhood, delivered long-term rewards. 
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From our bookshelf:

Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Marxism and Culture) by Gregory Sholette​

Purchase it here
Trump wants to cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst-case scenario for arts groups
Philip Kennicott & Peggy McGlone, The Washington Post

Trump's budget plan, which calls for the elimination of four independent cultural agencies — the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — would radically reshape the nation’s cultural infrastructure. 
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Life Practices: At Rootwork Gallery, two artists showcase the day-to-day of Englewood
Isaac Tannenbaum, South Side Weekly

At the Rootwork Gallery in Pilsen, a new exhibition celebrates the beauty found in quotidian, repetitive human activity. Artists Tonika Lewis Johnson and Adrienne Powers collaborated on this project, aptly titled “Everyday Rituals.” A photographer and painter, respectively, the duo sought to capture and convey the aesthetic value of the day-to-day of Englewood’s Black community. 
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Initiative pledges to get 10,000 Chicago youths back to work or school in 3 years
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune

Chicago has about 60,000 young people who are not working and not in school. Thrive Chicago, a nonprofit organization, plans to announce a campaign to get 10,000 "opportunity youths" back on track by 2020.
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What smart planners are reading right now

Check out what publications planners all over the globe are following to stay in the loop on redeveloping, building, and maintaining better cities.
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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 © 2017 Place Lab, All rights reserved.

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