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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640
USA

773.271.1990

We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

Blog

Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

Whose Chicago?

Peter Nicholson

How Not What
What will we do? Every mayoral election provides the opportunity for new ideas. I was recently approached by one candidate’s campaign to help create a forward-looking sustainability platform. My first response: it’s not a matter of what, but of how. Chicago’s long-time, powerful, top-down management ethos is inadequate to address the scale and complexity of the challenges facing the city. While I’m certainly concerned with issues like transportation, equitable development, urban flooding, health, and impacts of climate change, what is most pertinent is how we’re going to strive to address them. Surfacing and yoking the wisdom and experience of City Hall with the city’s many communities is essential. It’s not just top down or bottom up, but rather a combination of both that will generate the most potent and equitable approaches. Government needs to develop its innovation muscle, but doing so in a vacuum won’t lead to the kind of effective, holistic and resilient solutions that are most needed. We don't need a raft of "new" ideas, but rather a candidate who understands that their concepts are only as good as the manner in which they're pursued. That's where change should come from, whoever is elected.