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Chicago Finds a Way to Improve Public Housing: Libraries - The New York Times
I recently visited three sites that the Chicago Housing Authority has just or nearly completed. These small, community-enhancing, public-private ventures, built swiftly and well, are the opposite of Cabrini-Green and Robert Taylor. With a few dozen apartments each, they’re costlier per unit than the typical public housing developments, and they’re not going to make a big dent in a city with a dwindling population but a growing gap between the number of affordable apartments and the demand for them.

That said, they’re instructive. As Cabrini-Green and other isolated, troubled old mega-sites proved, bigger isn’t necessarily better. These are integrated works of bespoke architecture, their exceptional design central to their social and civic agenda.

And they share another distinctive feature, too: each project includes a new branch library (“co-location” is the term of art). The libraries are devised as outward-facing hubs for the surrounding neighborhoods, already attracting a mix of toddlers, retirees, after-school teens, job-seekers, not to mention the traditional readers, nappers and borrowers of DVDs.

Co-location is of course not a new idea. Other cities today link subsidized housing developments with libraries, New York included, but Chicago’s outgoing mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has made a point of touting the concept, and seeing it through in ways other mayors haven’t.
via:shannon_mattern  UofWinds 
may 2019 by copystar

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