Chautauqua: The 21st Century’s Roaring Twenties - From Recovery to Renaissance

Date(s) - September 15, 2021
2:45 pm - 6:00 pm

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Collaboratively explore strategies, approaches, and concepts that can foster a renaissance in the redevelopment of the Chicagoland area.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

2:45 - 6:00 p.m.
The Old Post Office
433 West Van Buren Street
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Suite 450

About this event

LAI Ely 2021 Chautauqua: The 21st Century’s Roaring Twenties – From Recovery to Renaissance

The roaring 1920s was a pivotal time in history marked by the explosion of consumerism, an economic boom, emerging artistic forms, and significant political and social movements – including progressivism, women’s suffrage, and the Harlem Renaissance. Coming out of World War I and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, history suggests that people’s reactions ranged from survivor’s guilt up to a “manic response” focused on individualism and excess. The era ended with the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression.

Fast forward 100 years, as our country begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, contending with a political divide and grappling with racial and economic injustice, if optimistic, there’s considerable opportunity to shape this century’s 20s to build communities that are both remarkable and sustainable.

But how do we advance without making the same mistakes from yesteryear or even yesterday? How can we build a future not based on unchecked consumerism and short-term fixes but realize true sustainable, equitable, and beautiful possibilities? Planners are certainly focused on a recovery effort to rebound from an economic stalemate – as they should be – but instead of solely focusing on a triage effort that brings redevelopment activities “back to normal”, how do we leverage all of our lessons learned to elevate redevelopment to a level where our descendants will discuss this era 100 years from now? How might we create a full-on Renaissance?


On September 15, 2021, members of Lambda Alpha International – Ely Chapter will gather to explore strategies, approaches, and concepts that can foster a renaissance in the redevelopment of the Chicagoland area by studying specific catalytic sites in the region. The event will begin with dynamic speakers that will spark imaginations on what the built environment could look like, rooted in three primary pillars of envisioning redevelopment:

Demography and Real Estate Economics. Sustainable development should be rooted in market and economic realities. Who are we? What do we as a collective want? How is demand shifting post-pandemic? What is the big picture outlook for major land uses in the region – residential, retail/office, and industrial uses?

Urban Design. Sustainable development is not new in the urban design discipline, but it’s more than just environmentally friendly design elements. How do we create spaces that meet new demands created by recent events without them becoming outdated prematurely? How is urban design – through new or existing trends - addressing planning that encourages improved physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes?

Policy. The cornerstone of sustainable development is good policy that is inclusive, respectful of different cultures and experiences, and strikes the balance between meeting the needs of a given community but having a broader impact. What are proven community development approaches that work in re-envisioning communities? What policies – old and new – created or have the potential to create systematic change that people are demanding? Which ones apply to the built environment and how should we think about real estate policy and implementation differently?

Members will then transition into smaller groups in a mini charrette-style format to discuss redevelopment approaches for identified sites. The goal of each group should be to create a dynamic plan for the respective site that pulls from the collective members’ expertise that is mindful of real estate economics, urban design, and policy interplays.

This is a terrific opportunity to BRING A GUEST so they can make connections and discover the great value of LAI Ely Chapter membership. **Remember, the chapter now requires prospective members to attend 2 events minimum to be eligible for nomination. Now is the time to think about 2022 new member nominations!**


In accordance with local guidelines, all in-person participants must wear a mask during the indoor portion of the event.