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Place Lab digest • Issue #4 • Friday, August 5, 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.

This week @ Place Lab



WHAT  Grand unveiling of geometric window design by local youth.
WHEN  Thursday, August 11, 2016 • 6–7:30pm • FREE event
WHERE  St. Laurence Elementary • 1353 E. 72nd St., Chicago 60619

The exterior of the vacant St. Laurence Elementary School has been enhanced thanks to the artistry of local youth. Join us for an outdoor celebration displaying the original pattern-making work neighborhood youth created in Ruben Aguirre’s workshop Board Up: Patterns In Place. The celebration will showcase dazzling, newly painted window boards and will feature Rebuild Foundation’s musicians-in-residence, Coultrain and Mikel Patrick Avery.

As the sun goes down, lemonade and popcorn will be served. ¡Anímate! Studio's FrankenToyMobile will be parked outside of St. Laurence ready to help you stretch your creative muscles by making your own unique FrankenToy—a toy made from parts of other toys. A limited quantity of school supplies will be provided to school-aged youth.

Read more about this project here.

What Place Lab is digesting

Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
How to talk about racism and unconscious bias
Lauren Hood on Michigan Radio/NPR

Ethical Redevelopment Salon member Lauren Hood sits with NPR for a frank examination of race relations. "Race is very difficult for people to talk about. Many white people want to believe we’re in a post-racial society. After all, we have an African-American president. Many black people note the inequalities that exist, the segregation that exists. How can Americans begin to have a real discussion about race when we’ve been comfortable in our own beliefs about that subject for so long..."
Listen now
Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Boundary-pushing exhibition explores time and scale in architecture and the arts
Gregory Hurcomb, The Architects Newspaper

...engages the viewer in contemporary conversations regarding the blurred lines between the disciplines of art and architecture in expressive and inspired moments of tension caught between the poetry of action and inaction, invisible and accumulated experiences, moments of human profundity and nature’s ability to mark and trace man’s perilous attempt to create meaning...
Read more
Designing Architecture for the Deaf

At Gallaudet University, the DeafSpace Project is redesigning buildings based on the ways that deaf people perceive and interact with the world. It has conceived 150 design elements within this mission...The project seeks to build new spaces corresponding to parts of the deaf experience that have long existed, creating areas where deaf people can communicate comfortably and highlight a culture that has long been marginalized...
Watch video
Expanding citizen science models to enhance open innovation
Kendra L. Smith,

Citizen science could have a direct impact on community engagement and urban planning via data consumption and analysis, feedback loops and project testing…Implementing this version of citizen science in disenfranchised communities could be a means of access and empowerment...
Read more
Jackson Park a good choice for Obama library, but major challenges loom
Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

Another big issue will be controlling gentrification. As the saga of The 606 trail reveals, new public works, no matter how well-designed, can have unintended consequences: They spark real estate booms, which, in turn, raise rents and force low- and middle-income people to move out. How bitter an irony it would be if a presidential library devoted to celebrating the life and career of a former community organizer were to displace the very residents whose lives it was supposed to improve...
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Will Urban Renewal Ever End?
Erick Trickey, Next City

In 1958, in one of the most infamous acts of America’s urban-renewal era, the Boston Redevelopment Authority seized nearly all of the working-class West End, evicted its last 7,500 residents, and razed it all to make way for new middle-class apartments. “It felt like they took part of you when they took your neighborhood,” says Campano, who co-founded the West End Museum to commemorate his lost piece of Boston...
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VIDEO: Community Activists Share Expectations for Obama Library
Dan Andries, WTTW Chicago Tonight

The announcement by the Obama Foundation ends the question of whether the center would be in Jackson Park or in Washington Park at a site approximately two miles west of the chosen spot. Advocates of the Jackson Park site talk about its proximity to the Museum of Science and Industry and Lake Shore Drive, among other pluses. What still remains to be defined is how the center will impact its neighboring community of Woodlawn...
Watch video
How Artists Change the World
David Brooks, New York Times

One person who serves as a model here was not an artist but understood how to use a new art form. Frederick Douglass made himself the most photographed American of the 19th century, which is kind of amazing. He sat for 160 separate photographs (George Custer sat for 155 and Abraham Lincoln for 126). He also wrote four lectures on photography...
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New Museum and NEON announce IdeasCity Athens speakers and fellows
Wil Barlow, The Architects Newspaper

Ethical Redevelopment‬ Salon member Bucky Willis, founder of Bleeding Heart Design, is among cohort selected as IdeasCity Athens Fellows. IdeasCity Fellows will live and work in the Athens Conservatory and will transform the space into a multifunctional hub of cultural activity...
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The Art Institute of Chicago plans a permanent gallery for its rarely seen Architecture and Design Collection
Matthew Messner, The Architects Newspaper

[Curator Zoë Ryan] is...launching a new gallery at the Art Institute, to showcase the museum’s vast Architecture and Design Collection. Outside of the Architectural Fragments gallery, permanently on display in the museum’s Grand Staircase, much of this collection has never been seen by the public...
Read more
The week in news:
The Obama Presidential Library

There's a lot to share! Here's a linked PDF of all the Obama Library reads we couldn't fit into this digest.
When 'Gentrification' Is Really a Shift in Racial Boundaries
Ryan Briggs, The Atlantic CityLab

Ultimately, how cities can best tackle issues as thorny as segregation or displacement will not be solved by a single study. But Tannen’s research does at least answer, in part, why gentrification can feel like a big deal to residents even while it is also relatively uncommon.
Read more
An Exclusive Look at Airbnb's First Foray into Urban Planning
Cliff Kuang, Fast Company Design

Airbnb is envisioning its future with a new initiative, a division called Samara. The division's first project is a communal housing project designed to revitalize a small town in Japan. "Is it naive to think that you can simply drop a building onto a community and expect them to reorient their lives around it?"
Read more
Gray Matter Experience gives kids real resources to build a business
Cheryl V. Jackson, Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation

Britney Robbins aims to help communities with the lure of enterprise — teaching students to start businesses for underserved areas. Robbins founded the Gray Matter Experience, a new entrepreneurial program for Chicago teenagers that focuses on black business development and gives them money to start enterprises in black communities...
Read more
Must an Architect Build Buildings?
Jason Foumberg, Chicago Magazine

Young Chicago architect Marshall Brown translates a collage into architectural folly—
for art’s sake .... “Everything real was once a dream,” he says, a phrase he hands out so often that it has become like his slogan...
Read more
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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