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Perhaps no Chicago neighborhood has experienced as turbulent of a century as Bronzeville. Join us for a lecture and panel discussion to hear diverse perspectives on developments that are re-energizing this historic neighborhood.

$15 public
$7 CAF members
Lecture Hall @ CAF, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Long a hub for the black middle class, but also a target of prejudicial housing and planning policies, Bronzeville today is enjoying a groundswell of new community energy. Investment by developers, city funding and quality designs are helping patch the neighborhood’s urban fabric and bolster its tax base. Community leader and investor Ghian Foreman, architect Ken DeMuth, affordable housing developer Virginia Pace, Deputy Chief of Staff for Neighborhood Economic Development Aarti Kotak and ComEd’s Smart Grid and distribution planning director Dr. Shay Bahramirad will discuss this new activity. Chicago Tribune reporter Lolly Bowean will moderate the conversation.

AIA/CES Credit: 1 LU

Program Moderator: lolly bowean

Lolly Bowean

Lolly Bowean is a general assignment reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She has written extensively about Chicago’s unique African-American community and regularly covers urban affairs, youth culture, housing and minority communities. Her national and international work has included stories about the death of Nelson Mandela, the 2008 election and inauguration of President Barack Obama and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Before joining the Chicago Tribune, Lolly worked for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Her byline has also appeared in the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, Poynter, the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe.

Program Speaker: Dr. Shay Bahramirad

Dr. Shay Bahramirad

Dr. Shay Bahramirad is Director of Distribution System Planning and Smart Grid & Technology at Commonwealth Edison, where her major responsibilities include leading Smart Grid organization across ComEd to develop the vision, business models and investment strategy for the grid of the future. In addition to being Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), she holds multiple advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from IIT. She's the Chair of the board of IEEE PES Women in Power, Advisory Committee Member of the Great Lakes Symposium on Smart Grid and the New Energy Economy, Guest Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, and Guest Editor-in-Chief of the Electricity Journal.

Program Speaker: Ken Demuth

Ken Demuth

Ken DeMuth, partner at Pappageorge Haymes Partners, has special expertise in complex adaptive re-use and historic renovation projects. He's served as senior project architect on many highly acclaimed projects including Infinite Apartments, Metropolitan Tower and the Pomeroy Apartments which attained LEED® Platinum certification. Recent Chicago work includes the redevelopment of the 17-story Chicago Landmark Old Colony Building from commercial use to apartments and the conversion of a Chicago Landmark church into townhouses in the Kenwood Historic District. Ken is currently working on the renovation and adaptive re-use of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour Hall and the residential and commercial conversion of four of the city’s historic schools.

Program Speaker: Ghian Foreman

Ghian Foreman

Ghian Foreman is the Executive Director of Greater Southwest Development Corporation (GSDC), a CDC focused on the improvement of the Southwest Side of Chicago. Additionally, he's the Managing Partner of Washington Park Development Group, a real estate development firm focused on inner city development, where he's responsible for identifying investment opportunities and partnerships in under-served urban markets throughout the U.S. Previously serving as VP of Strategic Acquisitions at HSBC, he oversaw over $3 billion in acquisitions. Ghian is currently a board member of the Rehab Network, Southwest Organizing Project and the Chicago Police Board.

Program Speaker: Aarti Kotak

Aarti Kotak

Aarti Kotak has nearly twenty years of experience in economic and real estate development, public policy and public-private finance. She currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for Neighborhood Economic Development in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, focusing on those neighborhoods most in need. Previously, she served as Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Planning and Development, leading the Department’s Economic Development Bureau in its work to strengthen commercial and industrial corridors, creating and retaining jobs and amenities within them. Prior to joining the City, Aarti served as general counsel for the NATO Summit Host Committee and Choice Neighborhoods Director and associate counsel at the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).

Program Speaker: Virginia Pace

Virginia Pace

In 1999, Virginia Pace founded Lightengale Group, a finance consultancy that has assisted on almost 100 affordable housing deals. The most complicated of these projects was the redevelopment of Rosenwald Courts in Bronzeville, which includes residential, ground level retail and office space. Virginia developed an interest in housing while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in college, and soon after started doing home counseling in Nashville. She came to Chicago to pursue her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

  • Ticket price includes complimentary beer, wine or soft drinks.
  • Discount tickets are available with a valid student ID for $10 at the CAF Box Office.

assistive listening systemsThe Lecture Hall @ CAF is equipped with an FM Assistive Listening System. To request a receiver, with either a headset or neckloop, please inquire with a CAF staff member at the program.