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10 Stories You Should Read This Week

Skyscraper news galore, an ode to Empty Bottle, and the pain of a reverse commute.

A northbound Red Line train   Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

1. The Man with His Head in the Clouds

Architect Adrian Smith is the king of supertall buildings (and invented the word). How high can he go? Chicago magazine profiles the designer of what will soon be three of the world’s four tallest buildings.

2. Muhammad Ali’s Exile Years in Chicago: ‘Learning About Life’

After refusing to fight in Vietnam, the champ was exiled from the ring—so he settled into a quiet life on the South Side. The Tribune revisits his sojourn.

3. Higher Education in Illinois Is Dying

No budget means uncertainty for universities, and the students who would go there. The New York Times gives a warning.

4. A Look at Gensler’s 2,000-Foot Conceptual Design for the Chicago Spire

How do you design a supertall “anti-tower”? Reach across Lake Shore Drive, to begin with. Curbed Chicago looks at their plans.

5. The Polls Are All Wrong. A Startup Called Civis Is Our Best Hope to Fix Them

The revolution starts in Chicago. Wired visits the new company.

6. Professor Studies Twitter Threats of Girl Gang Killer in Chicago

Gakirah Barnes died at 17, leaving 27,000 tweets intersecting with the city’s gang conflicts. The Sun-Times explains.

7. Reverse Commute Is a Long Haul on Public Transit

Compounding the problem in low-employment neighborhoods is the distance required to get to jobs. The Chicago Reporter rides along.

8. Why Can’t We Have the Lucas Museum?

Montgomery Ward, a turn-of-the-century Supreme Court justice, and British common law created an immense legal barrier to replacing a parking lot. Chicago magazine tells the long story.

9. An Ode to Chicago’s Empty Bottle, the Last Great Indie Rock Dive Bar Standing

To begin with, it’s actually a damn good bar to just drink in, before catching the next big thing with a small crowd in a dodgy layout. Pitchfork sings its praises.

10. Why Chicago Is Becoming the Country’s Urban Farming Capital

Vertical farming has been a buzzword for years. Is it ready to grow? Fast Company explores the scene.

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