Chicago Region's Climate Resilience Strategy
Partners: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) & Chicago Community Trust (CCT)
Services: Landscape Review, Systems Analysis, Experience Design, Organization & Mission Design
State, regional, and local efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change are vital, now more than ever, in curbing the most devastating disruptions. When CMAP and CCT invited Foresight to design an expert engagement process to inform a regional climate resilience strategy, we earnestly accepted. Over the course of nine months, in close collaboration with our CMAP partners, we crafted and facilitated monthly meetings that sought to unpack, define, and describe how to integrate a climate resilience lens into regional planning efforts. Leaders from the American Red Cross, Chicago Department of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, ComEd, and Illinois Department of Transportation, among others, contributed diverse perspectives and rich expertise. And, along the way, we all gained a more holistic understanding of our region’s vulnerabilities and opportunities for greater resilience. Today, the resulting Climate Resilience Strategy Paper is being used to inform the development of ON TO 2050, the region’s next long-range plan.
Chicago Region's Future Energy Vision
Partner: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
Services: Design Research, Landscape Review, Experience Design, Communication Design, Organization & Mission Design
Following our work on Climate Resilience, Foresight was invited to support CMAP in creating a comprehensive long-term vision for the region's energy system. The infrastructure, policies, and human networks that manage this crucial system are in the midst of major shifts, which have the potential to drive the region towards a cleaner, more resilient, and more equitable future. We engaged a network of energy experts for a series of facilitated working sessions, where we surfaced desired outcomes for the future and a strategic agenda for realizing it. We summarized this vision in a strategy paper, which CMAP is using to inform ON TO 2050.
Cities, Information & Governance
Partner: MacArthur Foundation
Services: Landscape Review, Communication Design,
Organization & Mission Design
Curious about how decision-makers can effectively leverage “big data” to inform how we plan, manage, and govern cities, the MacArthur Foundation sought to catalyze the emerging field of urban science. Over three years, the Foundation issued $6 million to field-building projects, including the creation of New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, University of Chicago’s Urban Center for Computation and Data, and the MetroLab Network, among other transformative initiatives. Foresight worked closely with MacArthur to shape and inform this grant making exploration. Over four years, we conducted multiple landscape reviews on urban science and governance, contributed to the initial framing and communication strategy to achieve Board approval, and captured key insights and lessons learned from the portfolio of projects funded.
Opportunities for Intervention: A Systems Analysis of Chicago's Water & Energy Efficiency Efforts
Partner: Chicago Community Trust (CCT)
Services: Design Research, Systems Analysis, Organization & Mission Design
Shortly after establishing a new grantmaking program area in sustainable development, CCT sought to identify the key intervention points to advance Chicago’s water and energy efficiency efforts. Foresight was invited to conduct a systems analysis of the region's current ecosystem and efforts on these key issues, with the objective of revealing opportunities to accelerate change and catalyze greater impact. We interviewed over 30 stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to reveal their areas of focus, motivations, drivers, strategies, and barriers. Through this examination of the water and energy efficiency systems, we identified 13 leverage points to inform CCT’s grantmaking, as well as that of grantmakers from across the local funding community.
Calumet Stormwater Collaborative
Partner: Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC)
Completed: 2014 & 2016
Services: Design Research, Systems Analysis, Experience Design, Communication Design, Organization & Mission Design
When faced with a challenge larger than any one entity’s or sector’s ability to address it alone, the only option is collaboration. Recognizing this imperative, MPC convened over 40 public and private entities to work together to effectively manage stormwater in the Calumet region on Chicago’s far south side. In need of a neutral, skilled coalition builder to position the newly-formed Calumet Stormwater Collaborative for success, MPC brought on Foresight to facilitate the exploratory (2014) and strategic planning (2016) phases. By designing an innovative participatory process, rooted in a systems approach to problem solving, we engaged stakeholders in productive exercises that fostered collaboration, determined root causes, cultivated shared goals, and built momentum towards collective action. The Collaborative's work is ongoing and is now focused on key actions necessary for bigger, better, and faster impact on managing stormwater in the Calumet region.