Chicago, March 18, 2014
Municipal Design Review in Metropolitan Chicago
Both theorists and practitioners see design standards as shaping the "look" of the community and built environment over the long run — with significant underlying ideology. Planning professionals may view design guidelines and review processes as useful tools to communicate local preferences and resolve issues. And, design standards and form-based codes have become powerful branding and placemaking tools for suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area and nationwide.
This program and discussion served to highlight contrasting perspectives on the benefits of design review. Drawing on observations from public architectural review commission hearings in local suburbs, Professor Robert Rotenberg, from DePaul University, considered case studies of how design standards work to shape the development decisions by stakeholders in Cook County, Illinois. Attorney and consultant John Hedrick summarized the regulatory background and recent developments in the Chicago metropolitan area regarding best practices in utilizing design guidelines.
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About the Speakers
Robert Rotenberg is currently the Vincent de Paul Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University, where he has taught for over 30 years. His research specialization is the cultural meaning of urban space, especially in large metropolitan areas. His research articles cover such topics as urban gardening movements, the underestimation of the sublime in nature by city dwellers, the genealogy of global downtowns, and the myth of sustainability in cities.
John Hedrick is an attorney and consultant with a broad background in government and business regulation who currently focuses on community development and urban design issues. For over 25 years, Hedrick has represented corporations, nonprofits and local governments at the national, state and local levels. He is the founder of the Municipal Design Review Network now sponsored by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute and currently the state liaison for the national Scenic America organization.