|March 22, 2004||
Press Contact: Josh Schonwald|
Chicago activists, University of Chicago President and incoming Humanities Dean to discuss future of Community Development in Chicago
On April 9 and 10, 2004, the University of Chicago will host a conference entitled Cityspace: The Past of Urban Renewal and the Future of Community Development. The conference aims to bring together a large and diverse audience interested in joining a conversation about the aims of today’s community development projects. In order to understand more fully the obstacles facing Chicago communities today, prominent speakers will examine the legacy of urban renewal as the starting point for a discussion about public policy, community initiatives and individual concerns about how Chicago is changing. The conference will combine perspectives of both scholars and community activists and practitioners to uncover new and exciting ways of tackling the persistent challenges of racial and economic integration, access to knowledge, affordable housing and community revitalization.
The conference will begin on Friday afternoon with an examination of the urban renewal period of the 1950s and 1960s in Chicago. A discussion panel will include Arnold Hirsch, author of Making the Second Ghetto, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and Leon Despres, former alderman and longtime community member. The panel will explore how urban renewal policies, including those of the University, continue to affect today’s community development.
On Saturday, the conference will explore practical questions about the future of Chicago communities. The morning session will feature three series of workshops, designed to convey essential skills to organizers and community members alike. The workshops will deal with issues of community financing, affordable housing and public policy, and will present concrete models for successful community building.
“We hope that the workshops will give Chicago practitioners an opportunity to exchange knowledge and skills and to make connections for future projects,” said Ryan Hollon, organizer with the Angels of Def, a University of Chicago student group that is co-organizing the conference.
The afternoon will feature two further discussion panels dealing with pressing current issues, as well as an address by the President of the University, Don Michael Randel. President Randel will present the first “State of the University Within the Community” address. A panel on economic development will address the political and social forces that can be brought to bear in raising the level of investment and job opportunity in an under-resourced community. Speakers will include John Kretzmann, Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University and Father Richard Tolliver of St Edmund’s Episcopal Church. A discussion on public space will address the question of how to cultivate geographical and intellectual spaces where democracy, sociality and collective memory can be fostered.
“I hope this conference will enable us to recognize and honor knowledge from all communities and to envision ways to share and exchange this knowledge into the future,” said Danielle Allen, incoming dean of the Division of the Humanities and professor in the Departments of Classics and Political Science and the Committee of Social Thought at the University of Chicago, who will participate in the panel on public space.
The conference will end with remarks by Mary Pattillo, associate professor of Sociology and African American Studies, and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Afterwards, all participants will be invited to join the speakers and workshop leaders for a reception.
The conference is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; the International House; the Civic Knowledge Project; and Angels of Def.
The conference is open to the public and will be held at the International House, 1414 E. 59th Street. Information is available at www.chicagocityspace.org. For more information, contact Elizabeth Babcock at 773-834-8934.
Last modified at 11:40 AM CST on Wednesday, March 31, 2004.
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