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MUDD 21 - City Visions II

The Importance of Partnerships to Motivate and Realize Urban Change Philip Enquist

All of us at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill were delighted to welcome to our offices in Chicago the UNSW Master of Urban Development & Design students led by Professor James Weirick in the fall of 2015. This group of enthused students and faculty explored a very timely challenge: the Obama Presidential Center as a catalyst for change on Chicago’s South Side. It was over three years ago, toward the end of 2012, that we, the City Design Practice of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, were asked to help the University of Chicago identify potential sites for the future Obama Presidential Center (OPC). We knew at the time that the OPC would be a significant game changer for the South Side neighborhoods, and would add value to the civic, academic and cultural role that the University plays within the City. The mission of the Barack Obama Foundation is transformational and hopeful: Our goal is to create a Center that inspires and empowers people to take action on the big challenges of our time. The Obama Presidential Center through the Library, Museum and Foundation programs, will seek to: Inform visitors about our civic rights and responsibilities and inspire citizens to get engaged. Empower individuals who are leading change around the world, and help develop new ways to enable citizens to take action. Connect people from different communities and disciplines to create new approaches to solving our biggest challenges. Translate new ideas into concrete actions that will have a measurable impact, enlisting partners across all sectors to a scale that works. In addition to the momentum and prestige of a presidential library, there is also the University of Chicago, which stepped forward to lead a site selection discussion and propose two critical sites for consideration. The University is a major force in the United States, ranking 4th nationally in academic standing. It has been home to 90 Nobel Laureates, and has an average student body of more than 14,000. With nearly 6,000 staff it is the largest employer on the South Side of the city, where it has been a tremendous anchor for over 100 years. The University has built an inspirational setting, is adjacent to major Frederick Law Olmsted parks, and the landmark academic architecture distinguishes this campus as one of the most distinctive in the United States.

Philip Enquist

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Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  

City Visions: Method & Design Chicago | Berlin | Sydney International Studio workshops from the Masters of Urban Development & Design degree...