This week, UI Labs and their industrial, governmental, and research partners launched CityWorks, a new hub for urban infrastructure innovation. It is an exciting, if determinant, time for cities, as the global population of urban dwellers rises and the complex challenges they face intensify with climate change. I am proud to see Chicago step up to prototype the interventions that could improve the quality of urban life.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Insights at The Edge
There is a fine line. I keep waiting for the project that will turn out to be simpler than I initially thought. Deluding one’s self at the outset is a requirement for progress, as is enduring a certain amount of frustration, never one of my strengths. That said, the edge of fatigue can be rich with insights, if I can tolerate the dissonance long enough to observe and understand the situation.
I’ve been traveling. Hours traversing Midwest turnpikes have been filled with a steady stream of music and hands-free cellphone calls. Recently, while switching from listening to talk mode en route, it occurred to me: I didn’t used to be this way.
Yesterday, the City of Chicago and the Metropolitan Planning Council announced Great Rivers Chicago, a coordinated planning and visioning effort for local riverfronts. I'm impressed by the diversity of entities participating in the project, and look forward to seeing the realization of its vision.
As part of a recent expansion, the University of Chicago's Urban Labs have announced a $1 million prize for innovative approaches to the city's challenges. My hope is that this high-profile competition, along with others in our region, leads to bold and holistic strategies that can be expanded to the scale of the issues we are facing.
A McJob Dream Come True
Bob Langert created change. As head of global sustainability for McDonald’s until retiring last week at the top of his game, Bob worked from within for 33 years, forming relationships with a broad range of stakeholders to shift the company's trajectory. Few outside McDonald's or the sustainable business realm are familiar with the extent of his accomplishments.
Forum for the Future, a UK-based organization that we've written about in the past, recently test-launched their Futures Centre, an online hub where thought leaders and practitioners can discuss innovations and breakthroughs in sustainability. I'm excited to see a common platform for collaboration, and am interested to see how it evolves.