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Honoring History While Building for the Future

Thu, Oct 24, 2019    6:30pm

Honoring History While Building for the Future: Pullman’s Revitalization, Historic Preservation and Community Engagement Process

A lecture by Ciere Boatright

On Chicago’s far South Side resides the community of Pullman. Declared a National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2015, the historic neighborhood is widely recognized as being one of the nation’s first planned industrial communities. However, when a depression led to a strike in the late 1800’s, along with the eventual shut down of the steel mills and Pullman Company, the community suffered a great loss both in its population and assets.

Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. (CNI) began its work in 2010 with an extensive community planning process. CNI focused its attention on the community’s assets: historic buildings; the availability of developable land; rail, road and water connections; and, of equal importance, an organized community that valued the past as a foundation for building toward the future.

Since 2010 CNI has coordinated over $350 million in investment, creating more than 1,500 permanent jobs through high impact projects and long-term community partnerships. The revitalization of the Pullman community is an example of what can happen when developers, and community leaders leverage a neighborhood’s history, and other assets to not only preserve its unique character, but also strengthen its socio-economic capital.

Ciere Boatright is the Vice President, Real Estate & Inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. Since joining Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) in 2013, Ciere has managed the planning and development of new projects, including Pullman Park, the 180-acre mixed use site on Chicago’s south side, where CNI has coordinated over $350 million of new investment and created over 1,500 new jobs. In addition to planning and development, Ciere has been instrumental in leading CNI’s community engagement process. By forging positive relationships with community groups, community members, she fostered widespread support for: Artspace, an innovative new work/live space now under construction; the new Whole Foods Distribution Center in Pullman; a new Mariano’s in Bronzeville; and a new community center in Pullman, the largest year-round, indoor athletic complex of its kind in the region. Ciere is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and was recognized as one of Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Commercial Real Estate.

Free and open to the public.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

Historic Preservation Podcast #14: Ciere Boatright on Inclusive Planning

Andrew Dolkart, faculty in GSAPP’s Historic Preservation Program, speaks with Ciere Boatright, Vice President of Real Estate & Inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), in advance of her Fall 2019 lecture at the school. Since joining CNI in 2013, Boatright has managed the planning and development of new projects, including Pullman Park, a 180-acre mixed use site on Chicago’s south side, and Artspace, an innovative new work/live space for local artists.

They discuss a number of these projects, each of which incorporates elements of historic preservation, economic development, and community engagement. Boatright encourages developers to plan not just for, but with communities, and stresses the importance of deeply listening to the ideas and concerns of a neighborhood throughout the entire planning and building process.