Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Faculty Scholar Seminar


Building the Speculative City

Rachel Weber
Associate Director of Research and Program Development, GCI
UIC Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 2:00pm

Great Cities Institute, CUPPAH 400
412 South Peoria, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
RSVP appreciated to (312) 996-8874 or

Dr. Weber will discuss her research on periods of rapid change in the physical fabric of the city -- the dizzying "construction booms" when the real estate industry, financial system, and public planning all operate in overdrive. By asking what leads developers to build more than the market can support, why they build new instead of modernizing older structures,and why some older, "obsolete" buildings are rediscovered, revitalized, and infused with symbolic capital while others are demolished or lay fallow, she argues that the routine professional practices of private real estate actors, financiers, and local governments create incentives for periodic overbuilding. To illustrate these dynamics, she will examine the case of Chicago's Loop during the Millennial boom, roughly 1997 through 2008.