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Place Lab digest • Issue #24 • Friday, December 23, 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

40 under 40: Lori Berko recognized as one of the brightest young minds at work for social good

Place Lab COO Lori Berko was recently recognized by Impact Design Hub as one of the brightest young minds in environmental design. The 40 young leaders recognized by this list — through the combination of creativity, courage, and compassion — are blazing new possibilities for design in the 21st century.

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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

Ben Carson’s Warped View of Housing
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Last year, Mr. Carson accused the agency of “social engineering” for requiring state and local governments that receive federal housing money to stop dumping subsidized housing in poor neighborhoods and instead locate some of that housing in healthier neighborhoods where residents would have access to transportation, jobs and decent schools. His comment betrayed a distressing ignorance of HUD’s mission, the laws under which it is supposed to operate and, more broadly, the history of housing segregation in the United States.
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Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Midwest Lender Provides Stability for Nonprofits Facing Rising Rents
Oscar Perry Abello, Next City

Initially, banks were hesitant to lend to nonprofits, particularly those working in historically marginalized neighborhoods, where property values are artificially depressed from the days of redlining...So IFF’s founder, Trinita Logue, created a nonprofit loan fund that would specialize in long-term lending to the nonprofit sector, serving borrowers who had a wide variety of revenue sources. The CDFI has made $640 million in loans so far, and the loan delinquency rate has historically stayed under 2 percent; most years it’s less than 1 percent.
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Chicago Architecture Foundation announces DiscoverDesign student competition winners
Matthew Messner, The Architect's Newspaper

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has announced the winners of the 2016 National DiscoverDesign Competition. The annual youth competition invites high school students from across the country to address a pressing social issue through architectural design. This year’s prompt asked participants to “identify a specific audience in need of affordable housing.”

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How U.S. Communities Are Adapting to Climate Change
Beth Mattson-Teig, Urban Land Magazine

Taking the necessary steps to prepare for climate change—and the extreme weather events that go along with it—can be a daunting task. A new climate adaptation report is intended to provide a road map to guide communities on how to effectively develop and implement their own climate change policies. Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities takes an in-depth look at some of the innovative approaches and best practices being used by communities across the country to better prepare for the effects of climate change. The report includes separate case studies of distinct adaptation actions from a diverse group of 17 communities across the nation from Boston to El Paso, Texas. The research analyzes the efforts underway, the motivations for action, and how communities have moved beyond planning to action.

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Read the report
Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
Wealth Divides: Exploring the Start Dividing Line Between Rich and Poor in American Cities
A Storymap by Esri

The growing gap between the top and bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder has been a prominent topic of public discourse in recent years. Statistics vividly portray this phenomenon. According to the Institute for Policy Studies, the top one percent of earners enjoy twice the share of the nation's total income than they did in the mid-20th century.
And for the first time in recorded history, the middle class no longer constitutes the nation's economic majority, as upper- and lower-class households together comprise over 50 percent of the population.
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Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017
Greg Trotter, Chicago Tribune

Come spring, a new urban farm is expected to take root in Lawndale with a groundbreaking for a $3.5 million year-round facility. The Farm on Ogden, as it will be called, is a partnership between Lawndale Christian Health Center and Windy City Harvest, Chicago Botanic Garden's urban farming program that grows more than 100,000 pounds of produce a year in addition to training low-income people of color how to farm.
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Between Chapters: An Exit Interview with Hamza Walker
Tempestt Hazel, Sixty Inches from Center

I bring this up because Leviathan Edge serves as a kind of metaphor for how Walker has operated during his thirty-two year chapter in Chicago–a steady voice with a hint of stealth, whose presence whispers at times and becomes emphatic and booming at others. Since the ’80s, he has worked behind the scenes and alongside many to support Gallery 37,  Urban Gateways, Randolph Street Gallery, and the art collections at Chicago Public Libraries...The list is long and endless.

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Renée Cox: A Taste of Power
Uri McMillan, Apperture Issue 225 "On Feminism"

Renée Cox knows a thing or two about style. A former fashion model for Glamour and photographer for Essence, Cox had an early career in New York defined by the rapid pace of commercial assignments. In her thirties, turning to fine art photography, she began the first of several self-portrait series, portraying a multitude of stylized, powerful, and iconoclastic black women...Running in parallel to Cox’s photography is the evolving image of black women in popular American media and culture, including such icons as Angela Davis, Grace Jones, and Beyoncé. But the widespread consumption of images can erase a subject’s political message. In her classic 1994 essay “Afro Images,” Davis, a distinguished philosopher and activist, recalls that it was “both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.”

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Tips for Creating a Vibrant Retail Streetscape
Katie Sloan, REBusiness Online

Streetscapes create a sensation of depth and charm that beckon to passersby. People are drawn to lush landscapes, open green spaces and great tree canopies. They feel welcomed in these spaces and want to share them with others. Many new developments aim to provide streetscapes and open spaces that create holistic connections, enhancing their projects with authenticity and community. Here are some insights into how to create these.
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From our bookshelf:

Known and Strange Things: Essays
by Teju Cole

Purchase it here
To Tackle Big Urban Issues, This Architect Became A Data Designer
Meg Miller, FastCo Design

Herwig Scherabon wanted to communicate the inequality of cities rather than contribute to it...Scherabon landed in information design but never totally left his interest in the built environment behind. His incredibly detailed, completely transfixing data visualizations tackle urban design issues like housing inequality, racial inequality, and evictions—and their skillful, multipart visual narratives trace how each influence the others. Scherabon, now only a few months into his new profession, continues to do self-directed work around urban inequality as he sets up his own studio and works on research projects.
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2016 was the year Chicago finally got serious about police reform
Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader

But it was also the year many citizens became convinced that reform is impossible...But for many, the promises of accountability and transparency that began pouring from officials in the wake of the McDonald video were too little, too late. Before 2015 had even ended, four more people were fatally shot by Chicago police officers, underscoring the fact that McDonald's death wasn't an isolated incident and furthering the public's distrust of Emanuel. The killings of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones the day after Christmas attracted particular attention and fueled calls for the mayor's resignation.
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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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