The 2014 Urban Forums: A Video Recap

At the 2014 Urban Forums a who’s who of urban scholars and experts shared the latest research in neighborhood history, culture, and design. If you missed any of this year’s panels, you can watch them below. Learn why neighborhood matters today and what it means for the future.

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From Hyperpolicing to Housing

The evolving approach to cleaning up LA’s Skid Row offers clues to solving chronic homelessness.

By Heidi Moore | For decades, LA’s Skid Row has epitomized the problem of homelessness in the United States. Once a hub for day laborers in the late 19th century, the 50-block area now sustains one of the country’s largest concentrations of homeless people.

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The Recession and Public Funding for the Arts in 13 Cities

Did cities that rely on state funding for the arts suffer more during the recession than those that rely on local (city) sources of funding?

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Six Decades After Brown v. Board of Education, Where Are We?

How far have schools come? New research and writing on the landmark ruling puts America’s progress of educational integration, and lack thereof, into perspective.

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Is Gentrification the Answer to Urban School Reform?

Some say “housing policy is education policy”—but is that true? Do mixed-income, gentrifying communities automatically improve schools? 

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Do-it-Yourself Urban Planning

Tactical urbanism’s motto is “see problem, fix it,” but its elitist instinct can rub some the wrong way.

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Social Innovations Conference to Address Challenges and Solutions in the Nonprofit Sector

Join nonprofit leaders on May 9, 2014, to learn about new strategies to meet ongoing challenges in the nonprofit sector. 

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What Is a Neighborhood? Depends on Who You Ask

Historians, urban planners, and sociologists debate the definition and meaning of neighborhood—and what it means for the future. 

By Barbara Ray| With great fanfare, the Atlantic Monthly proclaimed in July 1992, “The Suburban Century Begins.”

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Revitalizing a City, One Block at a Time

Detroit and Chicago are taking different approaches to eradicating blight and creating thriving mixed-income neighborhoods. Which will succeed? And what would success look like? 

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How Placemaking Helps Residents Shape and Connect to Their Communities

What makes a neighborhood a great place to live? Placemaking helps residents answer that question themselves. 

By Kathleen Costanza | Cities are often compared to ecosystems, but as eminent urban thinker Jane Jacobs explains, they can also be likened to human anatomy; every little part has its own critical function—the neighborhood beating at the heart.

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It Takes a Neighborhood: How Strong Community Ties Can Change a Kid’s Future

Living in a neighborhood, you pick up a few clues from your friends and neighbors about how to act and, yes, even what to think. Sociologists call this informal social control—and it can shape our future more than we realize.  

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New Urbanists on Neighborhood and "Lean" Urbanism

Some of New Urbanism's top thinkers will discuss new ideas about urban planning at our April 25 conference

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What Mid-Century Literature on Suburbia Reveals about Race in America

Why are we a nation of single family homes? How does this cultural ideal shape our perceptions and our choices? The University of Chicago's Adrienne Brown will discuss "Reading Red-Line: The Shape of Race in the Mid-Century," on April 16 as part of the 2014 Urban Forums.

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A Map That Saved a City, and Inspired Modern Science

With inspiration from a map that saved London from cholera in 1854, today's scientists are also using data visualization to tackle the complex public health challenges of our day.

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How Do Art and Science Intersect with Urban Design?

Few things are as whimsical as a city’s cultural scene—one month everyone’s talking about and flocking to a certain hot gallery, and then, abruptly, the tastemakers move on to the next big thing. Cultural caprices are difficult to pin down or predict. But what if you could map “buzz”?

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Mapping Urbanism

From social assets to complaints to neighborhood discrimination—in honor of the Gray Center’s new mapping exhibit, here’s a run down of sites map geeks like us love to love.

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Talking Neighborhoods, in the “City of Neighborhoods”

A who’s who of urban scholars and experts on neighborhood history, culture, and design will share the latest research and discuss the future of neighborhoods during University of Chicago’s Urban Forum April 9-27.

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Poor and suburban

Professor Scott Allard, Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Urban Network, was featured in the Winter 2014 issue of the School of Social Service Administration’s magazine, in an article entitled “When Poverty Moves In” by Charles Whitaker.

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Amy Lippert on 19th Century Celebrities

It all started in the nineteenth century with the rise of mass-produced images. Those images created a world suddenly filled with interchangeable copies of strangers, some of whom became the first generation of American stars. Lippert uncovers the historical meaning of celebrity and introduces us to the celebrities who set nineteenth-century hearts aflutter, and highlighted the rise of American urban centers. 

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Becoming Copwise

In case you missed it, the first Emerging Scholars Lecture with Forrest Stuart is now up! How does heightened policing impact a neighborhood? What do residents do to cope, and how does that change the culture? Does hyper-policing exacerbate poverty?

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Building Bold Innovative Partnerships to Prevent and Reduce STIs/HIV Among Youth

One lesson we learned at the SHINE conference last month was that the problems of youth HIV infection are complex, but some of the solutions are incredibly simple. Like listening better. Read our synopsis of the event for much, much more.

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Four Questions with Forrest Stuart

Professor Forrest Stuart will give a talk on Becoming 'Copwise': How the Urban Poor Negotiate Hyper-Policing in Everyday Life today, Wednesday, 13 November, as part of the Urban Network's first Emerging Scholars Lecture. He agreed to answer a few questions from us about his work more generally -- what inspires him and what he hopes to achieve with his research. 

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Negotiating the space between avant-garde and 'hip enough'

Jeffrey Parker will be discussing his paper Negotiating the space between avant-garde and hip enough: businesses and commercial gentrification in Wicker Park Wednesday, 13 November at the Urban/Community Workshop at Northwestern University.

Jeffrey is an urban doctoral fellow and Ph.D. candidate in sociology here at the University of Chicago. The workshop is at Northwestern University at 5:00pm in Parkes 222.

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Building Bold, Innovative Partnerships

Tomorrow the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration's STI and HIV Intervention Network (SHINE) will host its third annual conference.

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Johannesburg—the Chicago of South Africa?

“All roads lead to Johannesburg”—admits the narrator of Alan Paton’s famous novel, Cry the Beloved Country, even though he dislikes the city. Taking its cue from this admission of a kind of guilty pleasure in this vibrant but unnerving place, Loren Kruger’s new book, Imagining the Edgy City takes readers into the heart of South Africa’s largest city.

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The Persistence of Social Barriers

In our final summary from the May 2013 volume of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, SSA professor and Urban Network research affiliate Robert Chaskin weighs the impact social inclusion programs have had in remade public housing communities in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, he finds that there is much work to do for developers and community organizations on this front. 

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Between Policy and Practice is the Rest of the Story

The Urban Network spoke with Evelyn Brodkin about her new book, Work and the Welfare State, and what her research means for policy makers and street-level practitioners. Read the interview and find a link to a special discount for the volume. 

 

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Segregating with the Best Intentions

Stefanie DeLuca, Philip M.E. Garboden and Peter Rosenblatt discuss the ways in which the Housing Choice Voucher Program results in segregation in their article Segregating Shelter: How Housing Policies Shape the Residential Locations of Low-income Minority Families published in the May 2013 in the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

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The Churn from Prison to Poverty

David Harding, Jeffrey Morenoff, and Claire Herbert track former prisoners as they re-enter the community in their article Home is Hard to Find: Neighborhoods, Institutions, and the Residential Trajectories of Returning Prisoners from the May 2013 volume of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

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The Paradoxes of Drug Courts

Can Drug Courts Help to Reduce Prison and Jail Populations? Eric L. Sevigny, Harold A.

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The Poverty of Mass Incarceration

The U.S. has seen huge increases in the rate of incarceration since the 1970s. In their article in the May 2013 issue of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social ScienceBruce Western and Christopher Muller attempt to measure the impact mass incarceration is having on communities, specifically, whether mass incarceration is shifting the context and experience of poverty itself.

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Suburban Poverty in Baltimore

Faculty director Scott Allard spoke about the suburban safety net on WYPR this morning. The discussion was part of a longer series the station is working on called The Lines Between Us which is exploring inequality in Baltimore. 

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How Pre-Schools, Charters, and Voucher Programs can Increase Equity

In our latest excerpt from the May 2013 edition of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Bruce Fuller and Danfeng Soto-Vigil Koon write about the decentralization of education and the uneven benefits the decentralization movement has brought.

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On the Duality of Poverty-Alleviating Organizations

We highlight the work of Nicole Marwell and Michael McQuarrie in our latest update from the May 2013 ANNALS volume. Marwell and McQuarrie proposed a new theoretical approach to understanding poverty-fighting organizations that has implications for both researchers and practitioners in their paper People, Place, and System: Organizations and the Renewal of Urban Social Theory. 

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Organizing the Organizers

In the latest excerpt from the May 2013 ANNALS edited by the Urban Network's Scott Allard and Mario Small, Hector Cordero-Guzman, Pamela Izvanariu, and Victor Narro look at worker centers – both reviewing their history and the conditions that have given rise to these hybrid worker organizations, as well as the importance of building networks of these centers to facilitate information exchange and incr

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Economic Class is an Important Aspect of AIDS Treatment

In our next installment from the May 2013 ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Celeste Watkins-Hayes studied how economic class impacted participation in AIDS Service Organizations to see how social identity and status influence HIV patients. Her findings might surprise you, and have implications for better targeting services. 

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How do Families Choose Youth Activities?

In our latest piece from the May 2013 ANNALS, researchers study the roles nonprofit, government and business organizations play in providing activities and services to youth in Phoenix. 

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Crime Lab Evaluation finds Jobs Decrease Violent Crime

The University of Chicago Crime Lab released their evaluation of a Department of Family and Support Services program aimed at at-risk youth. They found that summer jobs programs for teens can be an important tool in reducing violent crime. 

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The Role of Immigrant and Ethnic Organizations in Neighborhood Development

We continue our coverage of the May 2013 ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science with a summary of Min Zhou's and Rennie Lee's exploration of Chinese immigrant organizations in the United States. 

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Walking as Social Capital

Cities are often viewed as economic engines, and there is much research devoted to the markets that develop and are catalysed by urban growth. But in his new paper with Brian Knudsen, Urban Network Research Affiliate Terry Clark teases out the role of the city as a political and social space.

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The ANNALS on the Urban Network

Back in May, the American Academy of Political and Social Science released an issue of its ANNALS* edited by Mario Small and Scott Allard. The contents were based on the Urban Network’s first Urban Forum, Rethinking Urban Poverty in the 21st Century: Institutional and Organizational Perspectives.

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The Nature of Urbanism, 75 Years On

75 years ago this month, our friends at the University of Chicago Press published Urbanism as a Way of Life (paywall) in The American Journal of Sociology. Louis Wirth, the author, was a leading urban sociologist at the University of Chicago, and wrote extensively on the distinctiveness of urban life.

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Do social service funds go where they are needed?

Social services have been provided by public-private partnerships for a very long time. Often, the government subsidy to an existing private organization for the service is much less expensive than establishing a separate state-run system to do similar work. Given this arrangement, it is important to understand how well public investments for social services are allocated.

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Complicating the Gentrification Narrative

Japonica Brown-Saracino, assistant professor of sociology at Boston University, spoke in May at the City, Society, and Space Workshop, an event co-sponsored by the Urban Network, about her new research project, which focuses on “queer female migrations to four U.S.

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Reconsidering the Urban Disadvantaged: The Role of Systems, Institutions, and Organizations

Mario Small and Scott Allard, the previous and current faculty directors for The Urban Network, were special editors of the May 2013 edition of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

The volume was a product of our first Urban Forum, Rethinking Urban Poverty in the 21st Century: Institutional and Organizational Perspectives

A subscription (personal or institutional) is required to read the full edition.

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Urban Doctoral Fellow Kai Parker at City, Society and Space

 

Kai Parker, doctoral student in the department of history and an Urban Network fellow, will present Must Ethiopia Bear the Cross Alone?: Ethiopianism, Gospel Music and the Reorientation of Black Religious Culture in 1930s Chicago Tuesday, 21 May at the City, Society and Space workshop. The paper analyzes the ways in which black Chicago served as the principal site for a reorientation of black religious culture in the early 1930s.

City, Society and Space meets in Social Scienc Research, Room 302 from noon to 1:20pm. 

 

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Japonica Brown-Saracino to visit City, Society and Space Workshop

The Urban Network is sponsoring a talk by Dr. Japonica Brown-Saracino, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston University, at the Workshop on City, Society, and Space Tuesday, May 14, 12:00-1:20, Social Science Research Building, Room 302. Dr. Brown-Saracino will give a talk on "How place shapes identity: the origins of distinctive queer female identities in four small U.S. cities."  Jeffrey Parker, doctoral student in the Department of Sociology and an Urban Doctoral Fellow, will serve as a discussant.

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Sue Dynarski to speak at the Workshop on Human Potential

The Urban Network is sponsoring a talk by Susan Dynarski, Associate Professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, at the Workshop on Human Potential Tuesday, 14 May 2013. She will present her paper Stand and Deliver: Lottery-Based Estimates of the Effect of Charter Schools on College Preparation, Entry and Choice.

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Grassroots public safety initiatives and the politics of crime and race in interracial neighborhoods

Jan Doering, doctoral dandidate in the Department of Sociology and an Urban Doctoral Fellow, will present at the Workshop on City, Society and Space tomorrow, April 30, 12:00-1:20, in Social Science Research Building, Room 302. He will give a talk on "Grassroots public safety initiatives and the politics of crime and race in interracial neighborhoods."  Juan Martinez, doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will serve as a discussant. An abstract for the presentation is b

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City States: Space, Housing and Politics in Luanda, Angola

Claudia Gastrow, doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology and an Urban Doctoral Fellow, will be presenting her paper, City States: Space, Housing and Politics in Luanda, Angola c. 1975 to the present, at the City, Society and Space Workshop Tuesday, 23 April. Josh Garoon from The Urban Network will be the discussant. 

City, Society and Space meets from noon to 1:20pm in the Social Science Research Building, Room 302. 

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New & Noteworthy: Aspirational Cities: The Next Great American Cities Aren’t What You Think

The fastest-growing regions are not heavy hitters like Chicago or New York, but oft-maligned low-density, car-oriented, suburb-heavy places like Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Charlotte, and Oklahoma City. Like Chicago and New York in the 19th and 20th centuries, and Los Angeles in the postwar decades, these regions contain “aspirational cities,” rich with jobs and opportunities for large swaths of the population.

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New & Noteworthy: Post-Public Housing Destruction: The Relationship Between Neighborhood Characteristics and Resident Satisfaction

A new article in Housing Studies, co-authored by Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, and Lesley Reid, examines the satisfaction of former public housing residents, post-relocation. The authors looked specifically at the relation between Atlanta residents’ changing satisfaction with their home and neighborhood and the socioeconomic, racial, and crime characteristics of their new neighborhoods, to understand the dimensions that drive (dis)satisfaction.

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New & Noteworthy: Stunning Success in Chicago’s “Mega-Loop”

An article in Crain’s Chicago Business details the stunning success that the city of Chicago has had in revitalizing its “mega-Loop,” a 10 square-mile area that runs from Cermak Rd. to North Ave. and the lakefront to Ashland Ave. In the 20th century, Chicago saw its suburbs boom as jobs and population migrated out and the central city suffered. Nowadays, by any number of metrics—jobs, income, residential property values, retail sales—the Loop area is outshining its suburban neighbors.

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New & Noteworthy: Zoning and Crime Reduction: Testing The Concept of “Eyes on the Street”

In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1951 Jane Jacobs introduced a number of concepts that have been influential for urban planning. Among them is the idea of “eyes on the street”—the thinking that, if well-designed spaces offered a mix of uses, they would encourage pedestrian circulation and ensure a type of natural surveillance wherein pedestrians and people in buildings keep tabs on street activity, thereby reducing crime.

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Dr. Briggs Comes to Chicago

The Urban Network sponsored a talk with Xavier de Souza Briggs at SSA Thursday evening about the role of academia in shaping political change. It was put together by the excellent team running the Workshop on City, Society and Space, and fostered a conversation about how the federal government can work better for cities across the country. 

For a brief review of his main ideas, check out the review included in the Urban Network's new series Urbanites

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Alice Goffman at Social Theory and Evidence Workshop

Alice Goffman, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, will present her paper "The Moral Life of a Fugitive Community" at the Social Theory and Evidence workshop next Monday, 25 February. 

The workshop meets in Social Science Room 401 from noon to 1:10pm. 

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A New Research Community for Urban Data

The Urban Network was a sponsor of last week's kick-off meeting for the Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network. Read about the event and the group's plans for the future at the Urban Center for Computation and Data. 

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New & Noteworthy: Commuter Patterns in Bike-Friendly Cities

A designer created maps for the country’s top ten bike-friendly cities that show where commuters—walkers, cyclists, and everyone else—are concentrated. In Chicago, it’s no surprise that many walkers, represented by green dots, can be found in the Loop. Bike commuters, represented by blue dots, are primarily to the north and northwest of the city center. In other cities, Manhattan is dominated by walkers, whereas Portland (the #2 bike friendly city), has a surfeit of cyclists.

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Director Scott Allard on Where We Find Poverty

The Urban Network's Faculty Director, Scott Allard, was featured in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity today. He argues that we need to rethink our response to poverty -- both geographically and systematically; poverty doesn't happen only in America's inner cities, and government assistance is not the dominant way we provide aid.

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New & Noteworthy: Envisioning Starry Skies Sans Light Pollution

Light pollution is a scourge, blocking out the splendor of the night sky from urbanites’ view. The French photographer Thierry Cohen envisions what those night skies would look like, rich with stars, in the absence of light pollution. Cohen shot photographs of the skies above much less-populated cities at the same latitude as the world’s teeming places and put them together with images of the latter. The result is a series of photographs showing the brilliant array of stars above New York, Tokyo, Paris, and more, which residents are prevented from seeing.

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New & Noteworthy: Class Divisions in the Chicago Metro Area

Using data from the American Community Survey, the Atlantic Cities takes a look at where creative class, service class, and working class live in Chicago proper and in the Chicago metro area at large.

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Creating A Healthier Woodlawn Recap

Community health depends on much more than doctors, nurses and hospitals.

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Computational Social Sciences Workshop

Friday, 1 February, Tom Schenk, Jr., Director of Analytics for the City of Chicago, will present at the Computational Social Sciences Workshop. The workshop takes place in Harper 140 from 2:00 - 3:00pm. 

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Interested in healthcare, but not medical school?

The Urban Health InitiativeUniversity of Chicago Careers in Health Professions, the Urban Network, and the University Community Service Center hosted a panel discussion about alternative approaches to community health in Woodlawn and on the South Side, and how careers outside of medicine support the work of doctors, nurses and hospitals. 

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