WBEZ | The Atlantic http://www.wbez.org/tags/atlantic Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Making Chicago a better place for women http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Stephanie%20Valentina.jpg" title="(Flickr/Stephanie Valentina)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">A recent article in <em>The Atlantic</em>&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Cities</a> section, &quot;How to Design a City for Women,&quot; described how officials in Vienna, Austria began taking gender into account in public policy, specifically in urban planning.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This process of &quot;gender mainstreaming&quot; began in the early 1990s, after administrators surveyed residents of the city&#39;s ninth district and discovered that women were using public transportation more frequently than men, and for more varied reasons. Since then, over 60 pilot projects have been carried out to give men and women equal access to city resources.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The ultimate goal of Vienna&#39;s gender mainstreaming project, which remains in effect today, is to ensure that all women are given the same opportunities to succeed in an urban environment as their male counterparts. According to Eva Kail, a <a href="http://www.difu.de/node/5949#1">gender expert</a> in the city&#39;s urban planning group, &quot;It&#39;s about bringing people into spaces where they didn&#39;t exist before, or felt they had no right to exist.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But would such a gender-specific plan work in a city like Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575" target="_top">gender role-eschewing</a> feminist with vivid memories of the &quot;For Her&quot; <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/bic-pen-for-her-amazon-reviews_n_1842991.html" target="_blank">Bic Pen fiasco</a>, I can see the criticism coming from a mile away. Shouldn&#39;t we design a city for <em>people</em>, not men and women? Wouldn&#39;t such a plan just reinforce steoreotypes of how men and women use public space? Or, to quote one frustrated Austrian opposed to the capitol&#39;s exhibit of Who Owns Public Space, &quot;Does this mean that we should paint the streets pink?&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To distance themselves from the idea that the project is about dividing people by gender, not bringing them together into spaces of equal opportunity, Viennese officials have begun to shy away from the term gender mainstreaming. Instead, they have opted for the label <a href="http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409410249" target="_blank">&quot;Fair Shared City,&quot;</a> to reflect their goal of equality for all.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Obviously, Chicago is a drastically different city than Vienna. Also, certain discrepencies in lifestyle between Viennese men and women (for example, women using public transit more often and making more foot trips than men, mostly to run errands, take their children to school, and tend to their elders) do not directly align with the commutes of typical Chicago urbanites, many of whom are students or single and living independently.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, if Chicago officials did choose to implement a similar plan, what changes would we see?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Ideally, the city would showcase more art and installations by female designers, artists and architects. Perhaps we could also design parks and children&#39;s spaces to be more gender-inclusive with a wider range of activities, or create more innovative housing to aid working mothers and families, like Vienna&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Women-Work-City</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Designing&nbsp;a city with women in mind is not about building more shopping malls, planting more flowers or erecting a bizarre Marilyn Monroe statue for tourist <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-02/entertainment/ct-ent-0502-marilyn-appreciation-20120501_1_marilyn-monroe-statue-sculpture-foundation-melissa-farrell" target="_blank">upskirt shots</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The key to understanding what women want is not rocket science: just&nbsp;<em>ask</em>. If city officials surveyed the women of Chicago, asking them about the struggles they face on a daily basis and what the city could do to better meet their needs, the answers might surprise them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 Where 'they' live http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/where-they-live-107105 <p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/0bbca76c696311e2afd722000a1f98d6_7.jpg" style="height: 438px; width: 600px;" title="(Britt Julious)" /></span></p><p dir="ltr">&quot;People don&rsquo;t drink coffee on the South Side,&quot; a woman waiting for a drink at a Wicker Park coffee shop said to a barista last year. I was standing near her, waiting for the same barista to finish making my own drink. Her comment was &ndash; obviously &ndash; incorrect, but it was so bizarre of a sweeping statement that I couldn&rsquo;t help but chime in.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;What does that even mean?&quot; I began. &quot;I&rsquo;m pretty certain people drink coffee all over the city, even on the South Side. It&rsquo;s pretty big. You do realize that, right?&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">And then she said, &quot;Well, I just mean coffee culture. It&rsquo;s a pretty bourgie, white thing.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Her statements signaled a lot of things (about race and class), but most significantly, our assumptions and ignorance about the different &quot;Sides,&quot; in particular &ndash; and neighborhoods in general &ndash; in the city.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/04/your-city-getting-way-your-social-life/5368/" target="_blank">In an article for <em>The Atlantic</em></a> examining <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692313000574" target="_blank">a study by Steven Farber</a>, Emily Badger examined the ways in which a city&rsquo;s design could inhibit one&rsquo;s social life. Badger wrote:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">People tend to self-segregate by values, or politics, or race, or income. But if our cities enabled us to interact with each other more, we might also form more of what sociologists call &quot;bridging relationships&quot; between demographics.</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Badger&rsquo;s article focused on one&rsquo;s social life, but these same ideas can be applied to even our simpler interactions with each other.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/0fe63a4089b811e2957722000a1f9a39_7%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 600px;" title="(Britt Julious)" /></p><p>It is easy to only know and understand and appreciate the neighborhood, the small town, the little corner of the universe in which one lives. It is easy to criticize this one woman, but assumptions and ignorance are common across different urban populations. Badger wrote, &quot;if people are sparsely dispersed across a sprawling metropolitan area with a weak downtown core and far-flung jobs, their potential for social interaction plummets.&quot; Chicago, in the broadest of terms, is described as having a North Side, a West Side, and a South Side. We are divided by train lines that stop miles before the city actually ends. I have friends and family who never leave their &quot;Side&quot; of the city, who do not know the North Side like I knew as a college student, who feel no need to do so because they have already made up their mind about what it means to be &quot;up there&quot; versus where they are.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">I too make these assumptions, despite living and growing up on the West Side, living in the suburbs, and living up North upon my return to the city. I have to remember that Chicago is a large and vast city. Chicago is not about urban sprawl, but about the expanse of the former prairie. Chicago is large sidewalks and larger streets. It can feel never-ending and isolating, but many cities face this same problem. When there are so many people living within close proximity of each other, it can feel like we know no one. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&quot;Not surprisingly, if people are sparsely dispersed across a sprawling metropolitan area with a weak downtown core and far-flung jobs, their potential for social interaction plummets,&quot; Badger said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>We in turn cling to what we have come to understand as our own: certain corners and bars, little pockets of nearby parks, restaurants for special occasions, and other people who look and act and perhaps even think like us, too. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">Our segregation means that we often do not know about, care about, or understand the neighborhoods and people in those neighborhoods that are as far north and far south as the city reaches. Chicago is greatly diverse, and yet we are often not connected. As such, Chicago developed into (and continues to suffer from) an existence as a hypersegregated city. Is Chicago designed to encourage or inhibit social interactions among different types of people? Examining the ways in which we talk about numerous issues throughout the city (everything from public education and transportation to gun violence and food access), it becomes apparent that Chicago&rsquo;s design, whether intentional or by the sort of self-segregation that we often subconsciously choose on our own, inhibits social interactions.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">This doesn&rsquo;t mean that everyone suffers this fate or that we are completely ignoring the structure of social interactions within this city. One person&rsquo;s ignorance can be another&rsquo;s challenge to the system. Just because we know one person is misguided does not mean that we are all misguided.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">Back at the coffee shop, the barista, now joining the conversation, said, &quot;I&rsquo;m going to have to say no.&quot; He looked at me and shook his head. I shrugged my shoulders. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&quot;It&rsquo;s coffee,&quot; he said. &quot;It&rsquo;s everywhere.&quot;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 14:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/where-they-live-107105 Kanye West gets an epic profile in 'The Atlantic' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/kanye-west-gets-epic-profile-atlantic-98551 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2429_KanyeWest_Joe%20Corrigan-scr.jpg" style="height: 452px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Getty/File)">In the May issue of <em>The Atlantic</em> David Samuels <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/american-mozart/8931/#" target="_blank">profiles Kanye West in an article headlined "American Mozart."</a> After recounting his PR fiascos related to Hurricane Katrina and Taylor Swift, Samuels begins to arrive at West's artistic persona:</div><blockquote><p>"So it is worth noting, then, that while Kanye West is a next-level producer and rapper, a high-impact tweeter, a public consumer of chicken fettuccine, and whatever else he might be, he is also something different from a political leader or celebrity pitchman. Kanye’s emotional landscape may be troubled, but it is also a unified whole, which is the mark of any great artist. He is a petulant, adolescent, blanked-out, pained emotional mess who toggles between songs about walking with Jesus and songs about luxury brands and porn stars. Raised by his college-professor mother in Chicago, and spending summers in Atlanta with his father, a former Black Panther turned newspaper photographer turned Christian marriage counselor, Kanye united hard-core rap and the more self-aware and sophisticated inward style that had evolved in the early 1990s."</p></blockquote><p>Samuels draws distinctions between West and his "Big Brother" Jay-Z's more controlled, success-oriented persona. The two have had a mutual attraction and competition for years, ever since West produced Jay-Z's hit single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." Their recent collaboration, <em>Watch The Throne</em>, is the climax of Samuels' piece. He followed their tour and gleaned insight into the differences in their approach.</p><p>On Wednesday's <em>Afternoon Shift</em> we talk with David Samuels about Kanye West's place in the cultural landscape.</p></p> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/kanye-west-gets-epic-profile-atlantic-98551 Does it take an outsider to find the truth? Jonathan Alter takes a look at Mayor Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-23/does-it-take-outsider-find-truth-jonathan-alter-takes-look-mayor-rahm-emanuel-97 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-23/6717047763_fe2c6e10f2_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-23/Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 2.01.07 AM.png" title="" height="302" width="560"></p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to Jonathan Alter discuss this article on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333159840-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/120323 seg c.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>"Here's my Atlantic profile of Rahm, the most extensive look yet at him as mayor," journalist&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/jonathanalter/status/180061433315340289">Jonathan Alter tweeted</a> after his piece "<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/meet-the-new-boss/8899/?single_page=true">Meet the New Boss</a>" went live online as part of the April 2012 edition of <em>The Atlantic </em>magazine. Alter, a columnist for <em>Bloomberg View</em>&nbsp;(he was previously at <em>Newsweek</em> for almost two decades), was making a pretty tall claim: Those of us here in Chicago have seen plenty of "extensive looks" at the mayor's regime since Emanuel took office.</p><p>The piece clocked in at almost 10,000 words, so length was definitely on Alter's side.&nbsp;But the journalist, who was born in Chicago and now lives in New Jersey, began his essay by talking about walking around his sister's Near North Side neighborhood. In the minds of some commenters, this may have been Alter's fatal flaw: He's not a real Chicagoan, at least not anymore.</p><p>"Meet the New Boss" is full of anecdotes that were fresh to readers across the country, but seemed old news to many in the Second City, particularly the journalists who cover him every day. After all, we know Mayor Emanuel takes the CTA, has had trouble revamping Chicago Public Schools, and is very physically fit. To attend a press conference the Mayor holds, almost a year into the position, is to see that the honeymoon period between the Mayor's office and the press is over.</p><p>What we didn't know before <em>The Atlantic</em> article was that Alter goes way back with Rahm; at least, their families have some interesting connections. We also learned that Alter has been covering Rahm "since 1992,&nbsp;when he broke national Democratic Party records as a fund-raiser for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign."</p><p>Jonathan Alter joins<em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/848">Eight Forty-Eight</a></em> to talk about whether he thinks Emanuel can change a Chicago that seems to be, to some, forever stuck in the unchanging mud of political corruption. Here's a hint at Alter's view: "I originally thought Rahm might be a mayor-for-life type, but lately I’ve been hearing that he’ll likely serve two terms, then, in his early 60s, run for governor of Illinois," he writes. "If he succeeds there, don’t bet against his trying to be the first Jewish president, though of course he denies any interest."</p></p> Fri, 23 Mar 2012 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-23/does-it-take-outsider-find-truth-jonathan-alter-takes-look-mayor-rahm-emanuel-97