Learning from Chicago: old problems, new approaches to renewal in the inner city

Stoltz, R. & R. D. Brown, 1994, Learning from Chicago: old problems, new approaches to renewal in the inner city, in: ECLAS (A. Aspinall & S. Filor), ‘The local context in landscape teaching and research’, ,

  • Author : Stoltz, R. & R. D. Brown
  • Year : 1994
  • Published in Book : The local context in landscape teaching and research
  • Pages : 72-85
  • Abstract in English : For many decades, professional planners and designers have attempted to provide hope to the inner city poor through massive inputs of money and expertise, only to find much of the work goes unnoticed or seems to propagate even greater problems. From the work of the Roosevelt administration in the 1930s to the 'Great Society' programmes of the Johnson years in the 1960s, solutions to problems of the inner city seem distant and elusive. Award winning projects throughout the United States have been demolished well in advance of their life-cycle retirement. Their designers have invariably blamed poor maintenance, lack of proper security, or some other reasonable explanation. Although many urban scientists and professionals have spoken of the lack of sensitivity to goals and aspirations of the urban resident, relatively little has been done to offer answers to many questions which haunt us as we deal with urban site planning and design. A new approach being employed in Chicago, Illinois, USA, calls for less, not more, direct professional involvement with clients. In the 'Chicago Model' developed by the Landscape Architecture Foundation (USA) under their working and outreach component called The Center for Design Innovation, professionals support local grass-roots agencies who are more in touch with the cultural and physical needs of the community. In a co-ordinated effort, planners and designers work behind the scenes, participating only when local agencies request assistance. Several interesting aspects are (1) the recruitment of local minority students into the profession and the generation of scholarship funds to support these students during their education; (2) the involvement of public, private and academic practitioners from the initial problem formulation and theory development to final review, and (3) the extent of external funding available to such causes.