Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Big Idea: GSB to redevelop Hyde Park?

From GSB Online:
What was running through your mind the first time you drove west on 59th street towards the Dan Ryan? Or the first time you walked a few blocks south of the Midway? Chances are it was something along the lines of "are my doors locked?" or "look straight ahead� don't make eye contact...." or perhaps you simply found yourself in a pensive state of disbelief, saying "how can this neighborhood be so close to one of the finest educational institutions in the world?"

Hyde Park, which at one time was one of Chicago's most affluent communities, is now, shall I say, not so much. Once inside the confines of the HPC it's easy to forget about what you just saw. Images of boarded up windows, graffiti, and broken glass are replaced by study rooms with 42" flat panel monitors, pool tables in the student lounge, and the impressive modern architecture of the Winter Garden. The dichotomy between these two environments is striking and inherently disturbing. It is this situation that we need to address in a more proactive manner. After experiencing the emotions described above, I held several informal conversations with fellow students harboring similar emotions. Subsequent to these conversations, I put some thought into avenues the GSB could pursue to make a difference in the community behind our front door step. It was this process that spawned my "Big Idea."

Chicago GSB is comprised of accomplished, intelligent, and motivated individuals with wonderfully diverse backgrounds. We have individuals with practical experience in the fields of economics, public policy, marketing, finance, strategy, education, and real estate development to name just a few. This combination of intelligence and experience is exactly what is needed to help expedite the redevelopment Hyde Park. While I'm sure that some fine people work for the City of Chicago, I don't think it's presumptuous to say that the intellectual firepower we bring to the table exceeds that of the city government. As such, I suggest that we create a class/program at the GSB that is focused on the redevelopment of Hyde Park and its surrounding communities.

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