Polis Station Panel Discussion

November 17, 2015
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Chicago Cultural Center

Studio Gang convened a panel of community leaders, policing strategists, developers, and architects to discuss how design could help rebuild trust between citizens and police. Using the Chicago Architecture Biennial project Polis Station as a starting point, the panel discussed strategies, both spatial and social, that could repair relationships between police officers and the communities they serve.

Panelists

Felicia Davis is Executive Director of the Public Building Commission where she oversees construction and renovation projects for the city of Chicago and its sister agencies. Felicia joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration in 2011 as First Deputy Chief of Staff and Lead Public Safety Policy Advisor. She previously served at the Chicago Police Department, with distinction, for 10 years. During her tenure at CPD, she worked in many roles, completing her law enforcement career as a Detective in the Department’s Violent Crimes Division, where she also oversaw the Division’s Community Policing Strategies.

Ghian Foreman is Executive Director of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, a community development agency in Chicago that focuses on entrepreneurial, commercial, and residential development toward improving quality of life for south-side residents. Ghian also serves as a Member of Chicago’s Police Board, an independent civilian body that oversees Police Department activities such as discipline related to police misconduct, public hearings, and nomination of candidates for position of Superintendent of Police.

Jeanne Gang is an architect, MacArthur Fellow, and Founding Principal of Studio Gang, an architecture, interiors, and urbanism practice in Chicago and New York. Internationally recognized for her site- and culture-sensitive approach, Jeanne explores the role of design in revitalizing cities. Addressing global issues with local engagement, she works with communities, cities, and organizations to make more livable spaces, seeking tangible and enduring improvements to our built and natural environments. Her Studio’s installation Polis Station is currently on view in the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

V. Mitch McEwen works in architectural and urban design, focused particularly on the intersection of urban culture and global forces. She is a Partner at A(n) Office and Principal of McEwen Studio in addition to her position as Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Before co-founding A(n) Office, she worked as an urban designer in the office of Bernard Tschumi Architects and New York City’s Department of City Planning.

Scott Plank is Executive Director of War Horse LLC, a real estate company focused on building economically and environmentally sustainable urban environments with emphasis on neighborhood activation, real estate development, and community-based philanthropic initiatives. His firm is currently working with the Baltimore Police Department on a project that reconsiders the design and use of police stations and their relationship to the community context.

Moderator

Gia Biagi is Senior Director of Urbanism & Civic Impact at Studio Gang. Formerly Chief of Staff for the Chicago Park District, Gia has spent more than a decade helping governments and non-profit organizations make smart investments in urban environments. At Studio Gang, Gia works with project teams to understand, contextualize, and respond to challenges faced by communities, institutions, and other stakeholders within urban ecosystems.