Southern Methodist University

Obama Presidential Center greeted with excitement and wariness on Chicago's South Side

Obama Presidential Center greeted with excitement and wariness on Chicago's South Side

When we last checked in on plans for the Barack Obama Presidential Center, in early May, architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien had just unveiled preliminary designs for the three-building campus in Jackson Park, on the South Side of Chicago.

In architectural terms the proposal has barely inched forward since, at least in terms of what’s been shared with the public. (It is officially a “Presidential Center” and not a “Presidential Library” because Obama plans to operate it without help from the National Archives.) But a debate about the role it will play on the South Side, economically and in terms of urban planning, has been heating up in Chicago. The Obama Foundation, which is...

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