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I space exhibition examines evolution of diverse Chicago neighborhoods

Melissa Mitchell, U. of I. News Bureau arts writer

Mary Antonakos, I space coordinator


chart representing housing variety via color and size
Click photo to enlarge
As indicated by this chart, "Housing variety is one of the key design elements of a socially diverse neighborhood," according to UI urban and regional planning professor Emily Talen.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new exhibition that explores how socially diverse neighborhoods in Chicago have emerged and continue to evolve will be on view June 9 through 30 at I space, the Chicago gallery of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“The Design of Diversity,” curated by U. of I. urban and regional planning professor Emily Talen, draws attention to recently completed research she and her students conducted in the city as part of a community design workshop.

Talen, the author of the recently published book “New Urbanism and American Planning: The Conflict of Cultures,” said the exhibition “probes the kinds of places social diversity inhabits, how this diversity can be explained, and what the physical context of diversity means – for residents who live there, for the viability of diverse neighborhoods, and for the planners and designers who want to support them.” The work, she said, is concerned not only with explaining the form and pattern found in these neighborhoods, but also in understanding how urban design and planning can be used to sustain them.

The I space exhibition will consist of a series of panels with images and text describing ways in which diversity can be maintained in Chicago’s West Town, Hillside, Back of the Yards/Canaryville, Albany Park, Near North Side and Uptown neighborhoods. An audio-video loop will feature interviews with residents sharing their thoughts about where they live.

The exhibition opens at 3 p.m. on June 9 with a panel discussion, “Diversity in Chicago Neighborhoods.”

Speakers will be U. of I. landscape architecture professor Dianne Harris, Columbia University urban planning professor Peter Marcuse and Loyola University sociology professor Philip Nyden. An opening reception follows from 4-7 p.m.

I space is located at 230 W. Superior St., Chicago. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.