This week we explore Chicago’s community map. (Photo credit: Mike Stephen/WGN Radio)

Mike Stephen learns about the significance of Chicago’s community map and explores the possibility of updating it with Emily Talen, professor of urbanism and director of the Urbanism Lab at the University of Chicago, discusses the importance of literacy on the West Side of the city with founder of The Queen Within, Bridgett McGill, and discovers the Secret History of 1990s psychedelic rockers Plastics Hi-Fi. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our Apple Podcasts Page, Spotify, or our RSS feed.

Mike Stephen decides on a carrot-only diet after returning from an eating-intensive Wisconsin vacation.

Mike Stephen returns from a food-focused vacation, visits a youth development organization called BUILD in the Austin neighborhood, discusses the long road to justice reform in Chicago, and discovers the Secret History of prolific percussionist Kahil El’Zabar.  This week’s local music is brought to you by Fay Ray. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

Mike Stephen chats with Austin Coming Together’s Darnell Shields about a new plan to improve the Austin community, learns about the flaws in the state’s Freedom of Information Act with ProPublica Illinois’ Mick Dumke, and explores how lines help define and impact Chicago with the co-president of the Chicago Architectural Club Carlo Parente.  The local music this week is brought to you by Hearts and Minds. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

OTL: Episode #542- Affordable housing on the NW Side, Roses4Austin, The Secret History of Big John Wrencher

Mike Stephen talks with:   Chicago Housing Initiative organizer Ben Goldsmith about the controversial push for affordable housing in Jefferson Park;   Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Sydney Jackson and St. Catherine – St. Lucy School principal Sharon Leamy about the Roses4Austin after-school program and the importance of volunteering in the community; and   Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about one-armed harmonica player Big John Wrencher for this week’s “Winter Blues” edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music.   Meanwhile, we discuss CityHealth’s questionable study that rates Chicago as one of the healthiest cities in America.   This week’s local music is provided by the Boogers.   OTL host Mike Stephen poses with Roses4Austin founder Sydney Jackson in a classroom at St. Catherine – St. Lucy School in Oak Park.   To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.