Interactive Exhibit Explores History of Discrimination in U.S. Housing Policy and Its Impacts Today in Chicago

Enterprise Community Partners, Designing the WE and Elevated Chicago present “Undesign the Redline” exhibit and related programming through November 29

CHICAGO (March 6, 2019) – A new exhibit asks Chicagoans to undesign redlining by exploring solutions to reverse discriminatory housing policies of the past and to bring greater equity to the city’s neighborhoods. 

Enterprise Community Partners Inc. (Enterprise), Designing the WE and Elevated Chicago today opened the Undesign the Redline exhibit and related interactive activities at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum, where it will run through March 29. This work will then move to three other locations during its nine-month run.  

Created by social impact firm Designing the WE, in partnership with Enterprise, the exhibit uses powerful narratives of people and communities, maps and other documentation to trace the enormous role that race played in determining where people were allowed to live. At the heart of the exhibit is an examination of how government policy from the 1930s, which became known as “redlining,” created segregation and disinvestment in communities, the impacts of which persist to this day. Part of an Enterprise-sponsored national tour which has seen openings in Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York, the exhibit comes to Chicago with additional support from Elevated Chicago. After being hosted by The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the exhibit will move to The National Public Housing Museum, the Loyola University Museum of Art, and the City Colleges of Chicago. 

“The exhibit and associated programs are a powerful way to engage with history, to examine how discriminatory policies from decades ago still damage lives -- and to inspire action toward creating communities of greater opportunity,” said Andy Geer, vice president and Midwest market leader, Enterprise. “Understanding why our city looks like it does will help us improve it, especially by creating well-designed homes that are affordable and located in healthy neighborhoods with access to transit, jobs, schools and healthcare.” 

“Chicago’s public transit system is an asset that connects neighborhoods to the city’s center and to each other, through and around neighborhoods that were once redlined,” said Roberto Requejo, program director, Elevated Chicago. “Our equitable transit-oriented development work is strengthened when more people understand how redlining and other policies have led to disinvestment in communities of color. We are excited to help bring this exhibit to Chicago, and to continuing to support community-driven solutions to dismantle the racism and colorblindness embedded in our built environment.”

The exhibit puts into perspective the local landscape and the history of Chicago, including the stories of: 

  • Marion Stamps & the Chicago Housing Tenants Organization’s only successful rent strike against HUD
  • The Chicago Freedom Movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., which was the basis for the 1968 Fair Housing Act
  • The case of Dorothy Gautreaux vs. the Chicago Housing Authority
  • Hazel Johnson, known as the mother of the environmental justice movement, and the People for Community Recovery
  • Chicago’s Chinatown, one of the few in the country still growing with new immigrants
  • The founding of the Chicago Urban League and the Congress of Racial Equity
  • The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American labor organization to be accredited by the American Federation of Labor (AFL)

WHEN:               

  • Opens Wednesday, March 6 and runs through Friday, March 29 | Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Bank Holidays

WHERE:              

  • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Ill. The money museum is located on the first floor.

Exhibit Sponsors
Enterprise 
Elevated Chicago

Exhibit Partners
Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
National Public Housing Museum

More information on the Chicago exhibit showings is available here.

Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable. We bring together the nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investments to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 529,000 homes, invested $36 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.

Designing the WE is a for-benefit design studio positioned within the fields of social innovation and community driven social, cultural and economic development. dtW facilitates collaborative processes to redefine how big picture systemic challenges are approached, identify opportunities for action, and co-design more holistic and resilient strategies centered on positive transformation. Learn more at www.designingthewe.com.

Elevated Chicago is a collaborative of 17 organizations working to change the way the city is built by advancing equitable transit-oriented development, or eTOD.  The initiative is active in the half-mile radius of seven CTA train stations. It is funded by the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), a national initiative calling for cities and regions to find creative solutions in the built environment that produce positive outcomes for racial equity, human health and climate resilience. SPARCC is a partnership of Enterprise Community Partners, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Low Income Investment Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Funding for SPARCC is provided by the Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Other funders include Enterprise Community Partners, the MacArthur Foundation, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Convergence Partnership and The Chicago Community Trust. For more information on Elevated Chicago, visit ElevatedChicago.org

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