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Place Lab digest • Issue #34 • Friday, March 3, 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

Theaster Gates Presents New Body of Work in Solo Exhibition at National Gallery of Art, Washington

National Gallery of Art
The cross-disciplinary American artist Theaster Gates presents a new body of work, The Minor Arts, as part of the Tower exhibition series at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. On view in the East Building, Tower 3, from March 5 through September 4, 2017, In the Tower: Theaster Gates examines how discarded and ordinary objects acquire value through the stories we tell. It marks the artist's first solo exhibition in Washington and on the East Coast.

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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

16 architects of color speak out about the industry's race problem
Asad Syrkett, Tanay Warekar, & Patrick Sisson, Huffington Post

In order to gauge just what it’s like for designers of color working today, [Huffington Post] talked to 16 architects—from young designers who’ve recently founded their own businesses to established players with high-profile projects under their belts—about the race-related challenges they have faced over the course of their careers.
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Stay up-to-date on Place Lab projects, events, news, and happenings with our dedicated blog, SITE.
Almost 200 Firms Have Bid To Build Trump's Border Wall
Kriston Capps, CityLab

The federal government’s solicitation for the design and construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico has already drawn interest from nearly 200 construction and engineering firms, just days after the notice first appeared.

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Indy council approves transit tax
James Briggs, IndyStar

In Indiana, the Marion County transit system is getting its first major expansion. The City-County Council on Monday approved a 0.25 percent income tax hike that will pump more than $54 million a year into the county's meager bus service. The money will pay for the construction of three bus rapid transit lines, new buses, increased route frequency and new sidewalks and bus shelters.
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Saving Nina Simone’s Birthplace as an Act of Art and Politics
Randy Kennedy, New York Times

Over the last month, four prominent African-American artists quietly got together, pooled their money and bested competing bids to snatch the house that is the birthplace of singer, soul legend and civil rights icon, Nina Simone, up for $95,000. They describe the purchase as an act of art but also of politics, a gratifying chance to respond to what they see as a deepening racial divide in America, when Simone’s fiery example of culture warrior seems more potent than ever.

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The Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker
Russell Berman, Atlantic

The Senate approved Ryan Zinke to serve as interior secretary on Wednesday. The Atlantic will update each of Trump's cabinet picks through confirmation hearings, committee consideration, and ultimately the final votes on the Senate floor throughout March.

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Miss last Friday's edition of the digest? Read it in the archives here.
Cursing the candle: How should we view the early signs of a turnaround in Detroit?
Joe Cortright, CityCommentary

Better to light a single candle than simply curse the darkness. The past decades have been full of dark days for Detroit, but there are finally signs of a turnaround, a first few glimmers that the city is stemming the downward spiral of economic and social decline. But for at least a few critics that’s not good enough: not content with cursing the darkness, they’re also cursing the first few candles that have been lit, for the sin of failing to resolve the city’s entire crushing legacy of decline everywhere, for everyone, and all at once.
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Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts?
South Side Weekly

Pastor Torrey Barrett and Dr. Carol Adams announce their plan for cross-neighborhood collaboration with a new organization representing Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore. The organization will look to ensure that three communities affected by the upcoming construction of the Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park have their concerns heard and interests met.
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The Black/White Oscars Moment That Really Hit Me Last Night
Hilton Als, New Yorker

Why did a black victory—let alone a black queer victory—have to come at the expense of old, established Hollywood losing, or at the very least being confused about what step to take next?
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A World Disorder Doctrine
Mike Pesca, Slate

Don’t worry about China. Do worry about North Korea. And reassure global allies. Foreign policy expert Richard Haas has some advice for the president.

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Are Micro-Apartments Innovative Solutions for Cities or Future Slums?
Jonathan Glancey, Newsweek

While tiny spaces might appeal to the young and single, what happens if a young single person meets another single young person and they produce a family?Odds are, many will leave their micro-apartments, resulting in ever-shifting urban populations. Will the latest wave of micro-apartments get the Luzhkov treatment and become the city slums of the future? Micro-towers may well be signs of the times, yet times change, and for most people, 260 square feet will never be quite enough.
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5 Key Takeaways From President Trump’s Speech
Glenn Thrush, New York Times

On Tuesday, the president rolled the dice, and went for nice. In style, if not substance, Mr. Trump delivered an address that nearly any of his Republican primary opponents — whom he once savaged as establishment stooges — might have delivered had they been standing at the rostrum.
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From our bookshelf:

Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World
by Jared Green

Purchase it here
What Unsettlers Can Teach Us About Building Better Cities
Kea Wilson, Strong Towns

The people in Mark Sundeen’s new book, The Unsettlers, are called Unsettlers because their way of living is intentionally disturbing to the normal order: they’re not just packing up and heading for the woods, but working to actually remake American culture, from squarely within their own communities. The people Sundeen profiles are incredibly diverse in their tactics and their settings, ranging from homesteaders in Northern Missouri to urban farmers in downtown Detroit.
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Bringing Detroit's Black Bottom back to (virtual) life
Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press

Emily Kutil, a 28-year-old Detroit architect, has a plan to make Black Bottom, once the center of African American life in Detroit, visible again for anyone who cares to look. She has embarked on a project to recreate the neighborhood out of about 800 rarely seen photos of individual homes and buildings that she found in the Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection.
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34 Poets Of Color Summarize 2017 In Verse
Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post

If 2017 was a poem, what would you call it?This was the question Tabia Yapp ― the founder of BEOTIS, a boutique agency that represents leading writers, speakers and multidisciplinary artists of color ― posed to a group of contemporary poets she admired. The open-ended question provided respondents with ample space to play. Some poets answered the prompt in two words, while others filled up pages, all while attempting to describe a time categorized by so much fear, anger, hope, action and love.  
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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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