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Racism in the Built Environment


Program Stream: Racism in the Built Environment

This stream undertakes programs and initiatives to improve instruction in K-12 and higher education, advance environmental justice, and highlight as well as support activism against racism in the built environment. Racism in the built environment manifests in residential segregation, educational disparities, opportunity gaps, and inequitable access to resources.

The Cost of Segregation

Grant Partner: Metropolitan Planning Council

Faculty: Patty Buenrostro

Assistant Professor of Education Patty Buenrostro is now serving as an education consultant from Lake Forest College in the MPC’s efforts to develop curriculum for educators and activists based upon MPC’s research for the “The Cost of Segregation ” project, which investigated the social, health, and economic repercussions of segregation in the Chicagoland area. Professor Buenrostro will help recruit educators and activists to multiple focus groups and will facilitate those meetings. Using the insights gained through the focus group process, Professor Buenrostro will help lead the development of user guides and will advise educators and activists as they implement the curriculum in the classroom and in other settings.

Anti-Racism Summer Teacher Training Institute

Grant Partner: Society of Architectural Historians

Faculty: Cristina Groeger, Brian McCammack, Desmond Odugu

This three-day institute, originally planned for July 2020, was designed to connect public servants, including educators, with humanities faculty, in order to share background knowledge, research evidence, and tools to engage with their work in their respective learning communities. The institute would study the history of race and segregation by focusing on specific examples of the built environment in Chicago and the surrounding area.  Associate Professor and Chair of Education Desmond Odugu, Assistant Professor of History Cristina Groeger, and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Brian McCammack planned to present their research on race and public space, housing, and schooling, and to introduce online tools that will allow participants to build their own lessons. The summer institute has been rescheduled for July 2022 when participants can convene for an in-person workshop.