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Place Lab digest • Issue #40 • Friday, April 21, 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


Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series

Wednesday, April 26 • 6:30–9:30pm
Stony Island Arts Bank
6760 S Stony Island Ave [map]

Ava DuVernay’s THIS IS THE LIFE (2008) chronicles the emergence of the Good Life hip-hop scene from its humble beginnings as a youth hang-out run by a neighborhood mom in a health food store in South Central LA, to a movement that spawned some of the most artful, experimental rap music to date. The film takes a look at the conditions that transform a fairly unremarkable community space into the birthplace of a cultural scene. 

Screening followed by a discussion led by Tayyib Smith and Briahna Gatlin. A partnership between Place Lab and Black Cinema House, this screening and conversation is part of a year-long film series exploring the complexities of neighborhood transformation and revealing the poetics of place.

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Collaboration as constellation of knowledge

Place Lab's Nootan Bharani addresses the importance of collaboration and constellations in Reimagining the Civic Commons

The projects in the Reimagining the Civic Commons portfolio will benefit most from many viewpoints, varied expertise, and agility of idea and implementation. The indeterminate nature of the problems of ethical redevelopment require us to work as a constellation of knowledge, pulling each other toward as well as away from issues, providing expertise and perspective at once. Together, we are prepared and dexterous to Reimagine the Civic Commons.

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Movement Matters: Body Politic

Place Lab's Naomi Miller is on a panel that discusses the role of the radical imagination and body politics

Saturday, April 22 • 3–4pm
Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Ave [map]

A biweekly column at Sixty Degrees from Center, seasonal symposia series, and periodic performance initiative, Movement Matters investigates work at the intersection of dance, performance, politics, policy, and issues related to the body.

Naomi Miller joins Bill Ayers, Paige Cunningham, Yolanda Cesta Cursach, Carrie Hanson, Onye Ozuzu, Anna Martine Whitehead, and Michael Workman to discuss the role of the radical imagination in the construction of both social movements and movement-based works of dance and performance art. 

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What Place Lab is digesting

Confronting Urban Design’s Diversity Crisis With a Return to Black Places
Nina Feldman, Next City

An initiative taking shape at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture wants to disrupt conventional notions of planning.
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Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Kara Walker's Next Act
Doreen St. Félix, Vulture

After the success of her sugar sphinx, the artist is a whole different kind of public figure—and figuring out a whole new approach to public art.
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Migration southward and westward is picking up again
The Economist

Since the second world war, among the most traveled established routes in America has been from the “snow belt” in the Midwest and north-east to the “sun belt” in the south and west. The recession that began in 2007 knocked Americans off course for a while, and led to confident predictions that old cities would recover some of their population losses. But people have begun to head southward and westward again.
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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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Five Award-Winning American Artists on How Federal Funds Launched Their Careers
Matt Miller, Esquire

Esquire talked to five artists across music, literature, film, and theater about how their own careers and the greater cultural fabric of the United States has been shaped through small grants awarded over half a century. These are the stories of how one small grant can shape our society and history's catalog.
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Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
Artist Sets Futuristic Dinner Party In World Reshaped By Rising Seas
Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR

What will our dinners look like when temperatures and sea levels rise and water floods our coastal towns and cities? Allie Wist, an associate art director at Saveur magazine, attempts to answer that question in her latest art project, "Flooded." It's a fictional photo essay (based on real scientific data) about a dinner party menu at a time when climate change has significantly altered our diets.
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Is It Time to Adopt a Less-Is-More Approach to Community Development Block Grants?
J.B. Wogan, Governing

Over the years, CDBG funding has sharply declined and the number of places taking from the shrinking pot has risen. The result, critics say, is a weakened program that makes little impact and sometimes aids wealthier communities that don't need the help. President Obama tried to shrink and redesign the program. Now President Trump wants to eliminate it altogether.
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By-right proposal for Rogers Park for a small apartment building
Steven Vance, Chicago Cityscape

The proposed “Howard Rogers Lofts” is a 38-unit apartment building less than two blocks from the Howard CTA station at 1531 W Howard St. The building is “by right”, meaning developers don’t need a zoning change or variance to build it, and they surely don’t need the alderman’s approval. It also means that people who already live nearby can’t persuade the alderman to block it.
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Beyond the 'L'
Daniel Kay Hertz, South Side Weekly

A more accessible South Side, and a more accessible Chicago, means a more humane city, in ways big and small. Envisioning what accessibility might look like on the South Side is, hopefully, one modest step towards that kind of city.
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HPAC, DuSable added to architecture biennial event
Wendell Hutson, The Hyde Park Herald

The Hyde Park Art Center and DuSable Museum are among five institutions that will be a part of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial celebration. The additions of these ‘community anchors’ for the biennial will give people a different way of looking at the city beyond Downtown
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From our bookshelf:

A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity by Japonica Brown-Saracino​

Purchase it here
Why It Would Be a Mistake to Cut This HUD Program
Tanvi Misra, CityLab

A new Urban Institute report corrects the record on the benefits and flaws of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
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Hip-hop artist, former 'Key & Peele' writer opens Love Taco in Washington Park
Nick Kindelsperger, The Chicago Tribune

"I'm really into gourmet tacos," Raymond Jones says, "but it's really hard to find them on the South Side." Love Taco, which opened in March, is Jones' attempt to fill that vacancy in Washington Park. "I grew up in the community," he says. "I didn't really see the (dining) choices change much. I wanted to be a part of the change."
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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.

Place Lab is just one star in a constellation of projects and programs led by artist Theaster Gates and located primarily on Chicago's South Side. Stay connected with our partner organizations by signing up to receive e-news. Arts + Public LifeRebuild Foundation, and Currency Exchange Café.
Copyright © 2017 Place Lab, All rights reserved.

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