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Book Launch: Who is the City For? By Blair Kamin and Lee Bey

From his high-profile battles with Donald Trump to his insightful celebrations of Frank Lloyd Wright and front-page takedowns of Chicago mega-projects like Lincoln Yards, Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Blair Kamin has long informed and delighted readers with his illuminating commentary. Kamin’s newest collection, Who Is the City For?, gathers 55 of his most notable Chicago Tribune columns from the past decade, paired with striking new images by photographer and Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bey.

At the book’s heart is its expansive approach to equity. Kamin argues for a broad understanding of the term, one that prioritizes both the shared spaces of the public realm and the urgent need to rebuild Black and brown neighborhoods devastated by decades of discrimination and disinvestment. These writings tackle fundamental questions about our city, including: Is Chicago becoming more livable? Can buildings be the architectural equivalent of good citizens? What buildings should be saved and why? Which urban policy approaches can make the city work for all?

IIT Dean of Architecture Reed Kroloff will moderate the conversation.

Stick around afterward for a book signing and reception with drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. The book will also be available to purchase.

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Lee Bey is an editorial writer and architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and the author of Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side. Previously former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley’s deputy chief of staff for architecture and urban planning, Bey has had photographs published in the New York Times and Architectural Digest.

Blair Kamin is the author or editor of several books, including Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago and Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age. The Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic for 28 years, Kamin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1999.

Reed Kroloff is a widely sought-after national commentator on architecture and design, whose writing has appeared in such publications as The New York TimesEsquire and Metropolis, along with television credits for programs on PBS and the Sundance Channel. He currently serves as dean of the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture.

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This program is presented in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center, with support from the Graham Foundation.

Image: Lee Bey