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Place Lab digest • Issue #13 • Friday, October 7, 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

Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series:
Lord Thing

Tues., Oct. 18 • 7–9pm
Arts Incubator, 301 E Garfield Blvd., Chicago 60637 [map it]

DeWitt Beall’s Lord Thing (1971) traces the evolution of the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL), a Black “gang” (or “club,” depending on one’s preferred terminology) that rose to power on Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s. (DeWitt Beall, 1971, 52 min)

Screening will be followed by a conversation with Jacqueline Stewart (Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago), Benny Lee (Professor, Criminal Justice, Northeastern Illinois University); Isis Ferguson (Associate Director of City and Community Strategy, Place Lab), and Sam Darrigrand (Workforce Development Manager, Rebuild Foundation).

The Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series is a cinematic companion to Place Lab’s Ethical Redevelopment Salon series and public convenings. A partnership between Place Lab, Chicago Film Archives, 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.

Learn more

Save the Date - Grand Opening
ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen

Sat., Nov. 19 • 4–6pm
411 E 5th Ave, Gary, IN 46402
[map it]

Mark your calendar now to join the residents of Gary, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Theaster Gates, artists Ripple + Wilson, and Place Lab at the grand opening celebration of ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen.

What Place Lab is digesting

The future of the arts is Latinx: Q&A with artist Teresita Fernandez
Margaret Morton, Ford Foundation

Latinxs make up 17 percent of the US population and are the country’s fastest growing ethnic group—yet they hold only 3 percent of museum leadership positions, lower than all other groups. This has real consequences when it comes to the representation of artists in those museums, as well as the diversity of their audiences.
Read more
Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
PODCAST SERIES: Talking About Cities 
Carol Coletta, Kresge Foundation

Carol Coletta, a senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice, hosts a series of podcasts showcasing innovative ideas for making cities successful and the people behind these projects. There are currently fourteen episodes available.
Listen now
Why we don't have world class BRT in the US, explained with one picture
Dan Malouff, Greater Greater Washington

Count the lanes dedicated to the busway in that picture. Including the stations, medians, and bus lanes, it totals about eight lanes worth of traffic. It takes that kind of dedication to fulfill BRT's promise of subway-like service and capacity...Five lanes is physically possible on many US city streets, including in DC. But physically possible and politically practical are vastly different standards.
Read more
From Rails to Trails: The Economic Impact of Chicago’s Repurposed Railways
Sean Kennedy, WBEZ

Since it fully opened in mid-2015, The 606 quickly became one of Chicago’s highest-profile parks. But its roots are much deeper than that...Calling it a bike path doesn’t really do The 606 justice; it’s a linear park, with heavily landscaped gardens, swooping on-and-off ramps, and public art. It was immediately controversial, and opponents of the trail said it would cause rampant gentrification.
Read + Listen
Preservation key to Detroit neighborhood's revitalization
David J. Brown, Detroit Free Press

Along East Jefferson Avenue, once-vacant buildings now house a range of businesses from a jeans factory and full-service supermarket to a bicycle shop and a collective of mixed-use retail stores inside a repurposed Queen Anne-style mansion. And in the Jefferson-Chalmers District, despite years of disinvestment and neglect, a substantial number of intact commercial structures from the 1920s and engaged residents point to a remarkable, untapped potential greater than the sum of the neighborhood’s parts.
Read more
Concrete jungle: A city-planning deck-building game
Cole.Powered Games

As you get opportunities to hone and refine your deck, residents will demand more from you. You’ll find yourself inadvertently creating zoning puzzles- playing against your own past planning decisions...
Explore the game
Black superheroes breaking out, but who gets to tell their story?
Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

One solution, Marshall decided, was simple, but not easy: black artists should create original characters, fresh superheroes, removed from the Marvel and DC universes. Talking to African-American comic book artists, you often hear a common theme: Ashley A. Woods, the Chicago native and on-the-rise artist-writer behind indie favorite "Niobe: She is Life," told me she decided early on to take full ownership of her characters, otherwise "you're stuck being asked to do black versions of what exists."
Read more
"While I am often caught off guard by the calmness of these urban designers, it is true that they know and do things that are out of my competences and experience. I know about the love people have for their places, but I do not know about making buildings, roads, and parks."
—Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D.
Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
Whole Foods and Marianos: Signs of Economic Progress in Bronzeville, Englewood
Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender

The changes that have occurred throughout our Chicago neighborhoods are more evident in the economic developments of the South Side Englewood and Bronzeville communities. In a time where the homicide count vibrates throughout the city and African-American bodies lie lifeless on concrete, surrounded by yellow tape, the backdrops of our neighborhoods receive a bad rep.
Read more
I have a great need for affection from an audience. I don't know whether this is because I had such a tough life when I was a child."
—Eartha Kit
The Mexico City designers forging a new path beyond modernism
Antonio Pacheco, The Architect's Newspaper

Mexico City is the fifth largest city in the world, with over 17 million inhabitants. There, below the looming volcanic peaks of Popōcatepētl, a rising cadre of young designers is making its mark on this ancient a metropolitan area so vast and so densely packed—Mexico City reportedly has about four times the density of New York City—handcrafted and informal solutions are never out of reach.
Read more
5 ways Americans are making non-traditional homes work
Alissa Walker, Curbed Chicago

In her new book, The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream, Courtney Martin presents a frankly depressing statistic: Two-thirds of Americans today don’t believe they’ll be better off than their parents. A large part of that sentiment has to do with our homes. Millennials are living much differently from Gen Xers—choosing “urban burbs” over cities, moving back in with parents, unable to afford buying houses—while more and more boomers are struggling to find affordable ways to age in place.
Read more
Where are African-American entrepreneurs?
Joe Cortright, City Commentary

According to newly released data from the Census Bureau, its now estimated that there are more than 108,000 African-American owned businesses with a payroll in the U.S...The new survey, conducted by the Census Bureau, in cooperation with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, provides a rich source of data about the economic contributions of African-American-owned businesses.
Explore the data
A New Typology of Global Cities
Richard Florida, CityLab

Globalization and urbanization go hand in hand. The world, I’ve long argued, is spiky. The 40 largest mega-regions produce two-thirds of global economic output and 90 percent of global innovation, while housing just 18 percent of the world’s population. But we lack solid data on global cities. (My own work uses satellite data on the world at night, which has its own limitations.) A new report, “Redefining Global Cities,” by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program fills an important gap here, providing detailed data on the 123 largest global cities based on their metro economies.
Read article
Read the report
How to Transform Moscow Into a Just City
 Mirjam Büdenbender & Daniela Zupan, Next City

Moscow’s planners and urban activists are currently embroiled in a debate over the city’s transformation...Missing from all that back-and-forth: the socioeconomic effects of the changes in Moscow and the tackling of equitable urban development issues.
Read more
This doctor pioneered a way to treat stress in children, a startling source of future disease
Michael Alison Chandler, The Washington Post

Heinz Award-winner Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician in San Francisco, is advocating for all children to be screened for traumatic experiences, which, research shows, have a long-term impact on health...Her practice focuses on low-income families, who experience particularly high rates of chronic stress. But childhood adversity is prevalent nationwide. 
Read more
Making Gender Equality Central to the New Urban Agenda
Caroline Moser, Next City

In the extensive rounds of consultation on four versions of the draft NUA, the voices of women have been heard at global, regional and country level debates. Along with international bureaucrats, state officials, city mayors, civil society, academics and NGOs, these have included representatives from important global gender networks such as WIEGO, SDI and the Huairou Commission.
Read more
The Goldberg variation: High-rise public housing that works 
Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader

Unlike the recently completed Marina City, Hilliard Homes was a public housing project, intended to shelter not the well-heeled elite but the poorest of Chicago's citizens. Goldberg designed the two 17-story round towers for senior citizens, and the two 22-story crescent towers for families with children. His goal was to demonstrate that public housing didn't have to be bleak, ticky-tacky boxes like the ones that dotted the landscape to the south of the site.
Read more
From our bookshelf:

Situationist International Anthology
by Ken Knabb

Purchase it here
"I just don't know how to deal with so many people giving me that much affection. I never had that in my life."
—Tupac Shakur
A visual history of social dance in 25 moves
Camille A. Brown, TED

Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.
Watch video
Judge: Chicago affordable housing rules constitutional; developers' rights not violated, can't sue City Hall
Jonathan Bilyk, Cook County Record

On Sept. 30, U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer threw out a challenge to Chicago’s affordable housing ordinance brought by a developer and the association representing Chicago’s home builders, who argued the ordinance amounted to an unconstitutional taking of property...The case centered on Hoyne’s objection to the city’s action to force it to set aside a total of two units in three multi-family residential buildings the company was developing at Irving Park Road and North Hoyne Avenue in the city’s North Center neighborhood.
Read more
Creating 'Luke Cage,' the first woke black superhero show
Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

The inherent irony of a character that is black, male, and nearly indestructible in an age punctuated by gun violence and black death is not lost on the show’s creator, Cheo Hodari Coker. His unofficial tagline for the series was “The world is in need of a bulletproof black man.” 
Read more
49 incredible public-space transformations captured by Google Street View
Melia Robinson, Business Insider

A Brazilian urban planning collective called Urb-i (shorthand for Urban Ideas) set out to show examples of people-friendly spaces with a before-and-after gallery of Google Street View images revealing the most stunning public space transformations from around the world.
See photos
More details for the massive Union West development emerge
AJ LaTrace, Curbed Chicago

The total numbers between the three buildings translates to 123 studio apartments, 26 convertibles, 219 one-bedroom units, 59 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom apartments. The total combined retail space between the buildings comes to roughly 9,400 square feet of space. As proposed, Union West is one of the largest new developments in the pipeline for the West Loop, however, there is no shortage of new projects looking to eventually be built in the booming neighborhood.
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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