On Thursday evening, Landon Bone Baker Architects was joined by Holsten Human Capital Development, Heartland Housing, Archeworks, and many others representing the field of community development in Chicago for a film screening of Sam Spitz’s “The Greens,” a 20-minute personal journey documentary he wrote, directed, and produced about Cabrini Green. The film starts when a white college kid sits down in a black barber’s chair. As Sam and Teddy talk, they realize they spent most of their lives four blocks apart on Division Street–Sam at a private school in Pulaski Park, and Teddy on the other side of the Chicago River, in the high rises of Cabrini Green. Teddy offers to take Sam for a walk down his side of Division, and so begins a journey through time.
“The Greens” is a human story–not an overtly political or propagandizing documentary. Sam and Teddy–the main characters and co-producers–use the film to start discussions about everything from racial segregation, urban poverty, and mass incarceration to media stereotypes, gentrification, and the changing landscape of urban America. As architects, researchers, and educators committed to democratic design, our audience was particularly engaged on the issue of equitable planning. Landon Bone Baker Architects is currently involved in the redevelopment of Cabrini Green (Parkside of Old Town) and previously led a summer workshop (cityLab) to study the effects of urban design decisions on the community.