Devising Long-term Initiatives to Shape Equitable Futures

CAB invites you to Devising Long-term Initiatives to Shape Equitable Futures, our first public program of 2021. This event continues and builds upon the newly launched model of year-round, free public programming at the Biennial. 

Changes in economic, environmental, infrastructural, and health conditions are constantly reshaping our cities and communities. However, the impact and capacity to respond to these changing conditions are not equal. What are the long-term initiatives that can shape an equitable future? How can residents, especially those most vulnerable, have equitable access to resources to provide stability?  

Minneapolis-based sociologist and photographer David Schalliol is interested in the relationship between community, social structure, and place. His project Reckoning with Vacancy concentrated on Chicago’s South and West Sides, where the last several decades have brought major changes to the built environment and its communities.

Los Angeles-based urban design non-profit organization LA Más approaches community development by bringing together local knowledge and culture with the power of informal and formal systems. Architect Elizabeth Timme co-founded LA Más because she saw the potential of design as a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to public projects and civic planning–a tool that could be used to support and voice the needs of the community. 

Schalliol and Timme will share their work and the interests and goals that drives their practice; how designers and organizations can engage in a meaningful way with residents, community organizations, and local agencies; and how individuals and organizations can contribute efforts and elevate communities.

The event will be moderated by Iker Gil, director of MAS Studio and founder of the nonprofit MAS Context. Gil will provide an overview of the ideas and goals behind BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago, the exhibition he curated in the inaugural edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.  


David Schalliol is an associate professor of sociology at St. Olaf College interested in the relationship between community, social structure, and place. Exhibitions include the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Centre Régional de la Photographie Hauts-de-France, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. His work has been supported by the Graham Foundation and the European Union and featured in MAS Context, The New York Times, and Social Science Research. David is the author of Isolated Building Studies (UTAKATADO) and co-author, with Michael Carriere, of the forthcoming The City Creative (The University of Chicago Press). His directorial debut, The Area, premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Visit David Schalliol and The Area for more info.

Elizabeth Timme, LA Más, Co-Executive Director. LA Más is a non-profit that designs and builds initiatives that promote neighborhood resilience and elevate the agency of working-class communities of color. Specifically, they focus on resident-led neighborhood-scale forms of community development, with work that ranges from alternative affordable housing, public realm projects, and storefront improvements. Elizabeth has been named an Emerging Voice by the Architecture League, Women of the Year by Los Angeles Magazine, Curbed’s Young Gun of the Year, and participated in Exhibit Columbus. She currently teaches at Cal Poly Pomona’s School of Architecture and contributes to journals and publications like Manifest Journal, Log 48, and Tabula Plena. Visit LA Más for more info.

Iker Gil is an architect and the director of the Chicago-based architecture and design firm MAS Studio. In addition, he is the editor in chief of MAS Context and the executive director of the SOM Foundation. He is the editor of the book Shanghai Transforming (ACTAR, 2008) and has curated or co-curated several exhibitions, including Poured Architecture: Sergio Prego on Miguel FisacNocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises, as well as BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago, included as part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. Iker is the Co-Curator of the 2020-2021 Exhibit Columbus and was the Associate Curator of the US Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. Visit MAS Context for more info. 

Image: THE AREA is a South Side Chicago community’s five-year fight for respect in the face of displacement. © David Schalliol.