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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – TF Tierney, professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has received a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Research and Development grant to study Ladera, a 1940s multiracial housing association in Portola , California, and the role federal lending practices played in maintaining the racially segregated suburbs.

The Chicago-based Graham Foundation supports the development of diverse ideas about architecture and its role in art, culture and society through competitive project-based grants to individuals and organizations.

Individuals may be granted production and presentation grants to help bring a project to fruition and public display, as well as research and development grants to support research-related expenses in the early stages of a project. Tierney’s project is one of 71 selected out of 700 proposals in the 2021 scholarship class.

Tierney’s research interests emphasize contemporary urbanism. She is the founding director of the URL: Urban Research Lab, which researches the interface between networked technologies and the built environment.

Her project “Racializing Risk: The History of Ladera Housing Cooperative” examines the different lending practices of the Federal Housing Administration in the 1940s and how they played a significant role in the structural institutionalization of segregated suburbs. It examines the Ladera Housing Cooperative, a post-WWII multiracial housing cooperative designed as a socially and environmentally conscious project that should be affordable and open to all with no restrictive membership agreements.

Tierney’s research will analyze the practice of FHA “credit rationing” – government sponsored discrimination practiced by credit institutions. Their hypothesis is that FHA lending practices had the same effect in maintaining segregation as redlining in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.

As in postwar California, affordable housing is now a scarce commodity, Tierney said, and the effects of racially segregated housing still persist.

The highlight of Tierney’s project are publications in peer-reviewed planning journals and a podcast with interviews with experts from sociology, history and urban planning.

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