Developers at the Gates

Chicago’s Place Lab to hold event on ethical redevelopment

Art Development Midwest
Theaster Gates discussing ethical redevelopment to a crowd at Ideas City Detroit. (Matthew Messner/AN)

In the first in a series of public events and symposia, the University of Chicago’s Place Lab will be holding a community talk about ethical redevelopment on Chicago’s South Side. Place Lab is an organization made up of professionals from law, urban planning, architecture, design, social work, arts administration, and gender and cultural studies. It is a partnership between the UChicago Art initiative Arts + Public Life and the Harris School of Public Policy.

The June 22 event will include talks by artist/activist Theaster Gates, director of Place Lab, and Steve Edwards, executive director of the U. of C. Institute of Politics. Both speakers will discuss mindful development and collaboration in their work. Place Lab’s events aim to redefine city-making and question traditional modes of development. The events will also look at Gates’s success in redeveloping spaces for the local community and artists across the South Side.

Stony Island Arts Bank (Tom Harris)

Stony Island Arts Bank (Tom Harris)

Gates’ projects include the Stony Island Arts Bank, a “hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center.” The project redeveloped a 1923 beaux arts bank that had been abandoned in the 1980s. Another project, the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) is a redeveloped public housing campus. Thirty two town houses provide mixed-income housing for artist and community members to encourage dialog between the two groups.


Johnson Publishing Company Archives on the building's second floor (Tom Harris)

Johnson Publishing Company Archives on the building’s second floor. (Tom Harris)

Place Lab was founded in 2014. It focuses on nine main principles of ethical redevelopment including: repurpose and re-purpose, engaged participation, pedagogical moments, the indeterminate, design, place over time, stack leverage and access, constellations, and platforms. Along with working on the South Side, Place Lab shares its findings with other cities including Gary, Akron, and Detroit.

The first ethical redevelopment event will take place on Wednesday, June 22, Place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. The event is open and free to the public. Guests can RSVP at http://placelab.uchicago.edu/public-convenings/.

Related Stories