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Displacement Week:
"Chicago and the 2016 Olympics: Why Host the Games? How Should We Host the Games? What Should We Accomplish by Hosting the Games?"

February 25, 2008

A talk by Larry Bennett, Political Science Department, DePaul University.

Chicago is one of seven finalists seeking the designation as host city for the 2016 summer Olympic Games. Eight years in advance of the Games, several major components of the Chicago proposal have been worked out and have drawn the attention of local residents and the media. Many other parts of the Chicago Olympic plan remain unspecified at this time. Among the uncertainties associated with the Chicago Olympic bid, and if Chicago wins the contest to host the 2016 Games, with the Games themselves, are the following: How will the Games be financed? What kind of overall economic boost can Chicago anticipate from hosting the 2016 Olympics? Are the city's neighborhoods where major Olympic facilities will be located--notably the mid-South Side Washington Park area, and the near-South Side lakefront--likely to benefit in any fundamental, long-term way from the Games?

Larry Bennett teaches in the Political Science Department at DePaul University. In the last several years he has co-authored or co-edited It's Hardly Sportin': Stadiums, Neighborhoods, and the New Chicago (Northern Illinois University Press), Where Are Poor People to Live?: Transforming Public Housing Communities (M.E. Sharpe), and The New Chicago: A Social and Cultural Analysis (Temple University Press). For many years Professor Bennett as served on the Board of Directors of the LEED Council, the non-profit economic development organization serving the North River Corridor. He is currently researching Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid in collaboration with Michael Bennett and Steve Alexander of DePaul's Egan Urban Center.

The purpose of Displacement Week is to engage the University of Chicago and Hyde Park/Kenwood/Woodlawn communities with issues around the displacement of people for economic development. We will examine the connection between displacement caused by global and local economic development processes, such as the proliferation of Special Economic Zones and the rapid expansion of gentrification. We will also use this week to create a dialogue about the University of Chicago's responsibility to global and local communities.

Displacement Week 2008 is being organized collaboratively by the following organizations at the University of Chicago: The Human Rights Program, Committee on Southern Asian Studies, Chicago Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Southside Solidarity Network, Center for International Studies, Students for Human Rights, Students Organizing United with Labor (SOUL)