ULI Chicago Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) hosted the final installment of a 3-part series titled “Equity in Real Estate,” focusing on racial equity in the industry. As Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Ciere Boatright has redefined equitable development through her work on multiple buildings in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Leveraging her experience and applying steep goals for success, she is now collaborating with Morgan Malone on the Bronzeville Lakefront project. Ms. Malone serves as Director of Development and External Affairs at Farpoint Development. Ms. Boatright and Ms. Malone were interviewed by Molly Meyer, Founder & CEO of Omni Ecosystems.
Throughout the program, Ms. Boatright and Ms. Malone illustrated the groundbreaking community engagement work being done in Bronzeville – showing thoughtful intention for authentic communication. With a goal of catalyzing generations of economic impact, they have worked to plan the development alongside the community – affirming the Black experience, preserving art, history, and culture, and ultimately – making a place where everyone feels welcome. As a result, community meetings have been anything but contentious. However, when pressed on how they reconcile multiple opinions from the community, Ms. Malone felt it was all about evaluating the benefits of each request – ensuring that it has mass impact, instead of just satisfying a small group of people.
In fact, the benefits the community will receive from the Bronzeville project are what Ms. Boatright and Ms. Malone are most proud of – the development is intended to have a ripple effect for generations to come. Sustainability is at the forefront of their designs – with a goal of developing the greenest building in the world. Through this, they made the strong point that environmental justice goes beyond remediation – it is deeply linked to social and economic justice. As support, they illustrated how sustainable design can impact personal costs, health, and wellbeing through lower water and energy bills, cleaner air, and greater access to green space.
One of the highlights of the event was Ms. Malone discussing the nationwide initiative she recently started called Resisting in Place. She mentioned that people across the country and in every industry have shown a commitment to resisting racism – even in simply making adjustments to their everyday work through equitable recruiting and mentoring practices. Resisting in Place acknowledges the often-overlooked contributions that people of color have made throughout history, as well as amplifies the voices of people who are making an impact in their own industries and communities. To follow this initiative or submit a nomination of someone to feature, please visit resistinginplace.com.