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Chicago public housing shapes Renata Bunger’s career 

Renata Bunger of Lean Design Werks experienced the difference in low vs. high quality affordable housing at a young age. 

Growing up, Bunger and her family visited both of her grandmothers in Chicago. The grandmothers lived in contrasting neighborhoods and public housing. While one lived on the west-side in a low-rise, low-density apartment, the other lived on the North Side in the high-rise, high-density Cabrini Green.  

“When I visited my grandmother on the west side, I felt safe and that she was safe. When I visited my grandmother who in Cabrini-Green, I always felt excessive fear and anxiety,” said Bunger. The apartment complex in Cabrini-Green shaped Bunger’s grandmother’s life, she noted: “My grandmother and at least 80% of the families were held hostage by an environment and factors that choked their life and future opportunities.” 

The impact that Bunger’s grandmothers’ differing public housing experiences had on her led her to pursue a career in affordable housing development. 

Bunger brings a sense of determination to advance projects that bring direct value into the community. “I’d like Wisconsin to be known as a state of connected communities where residents feel they have a voice and stake in shaping and developing the resources in their communities,” she said.  

Bunger said she is grateful to join Alf McConnell and Jim Rogers in developing the Avenue Square Apartments in Downtown Milwaukee to advance the city’s affordable housing options.