How It Works
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Laurel Lipkin ’79
Urban planner and consultant for community and economic development projects
The National Public Housing Museum, slated to open in 2012 in a historic public housing building in Chicago.
The museum—housed in the last of the Depression-era Jane Addams Homes— needs to tell the controversial and rich history of public housing in America in a manner that destigmatizes public housing.
Lipkin and her collaborators will re-create apartments past, one for each decade of the building’s existence. Each apartment will capture the spirit of the time and tell the story of a family that lived in public housing.
Why It Works
It’s authentic. By immersing visitors in the artifacts of the former residents’ lives—including furnishings, clothes, and music—the recreated apartments will tell “a universal story of resiliency, ethnic and racial history, migration, integration, poverty, and public policy,” Lipkin says. She hopes that ultimately, the museum will help address the skepticism and racial and economic prejudice surrounding public housing and foster a deeper understanding of this multifaceted institution.