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Learning Expedition Chicago

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In October of 2019, leaders of global business districts, business districts managing companies, and urban planning authorities gathered in Chicago, Illinois for a fast-paced trip focused on Placemaking issues.


The Global Business Districts Innovation Club (GBD) Learning Expedition Chicago immersed guests in a three day exploration of the latest urban trends. They met the key players of Downtown Chicago—from innovative startups to the local authorities—and learned from their best practices, while visiting unique places of innovation, getting in touch with the GBD network, and exchanged and benefited from immersion in the ecosystem.

Guests included business district leaders from Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto and Chicago.

Session topics included Arts & Culture, Residential, Innovation, Public Space, Tourism, Culinary Arts, O'Hare Airport, Business Recruitment and Office trends.  See Program (PDF)

“We were thrilled to host the first Learning Expedition of the Global Business Districts Innovation Club right here in the Chicago Loop,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. “The Loop is ahead of the curve when it comes to downtown management, and Chicago has so much to offer in the way of tech innovation. This gathering of thought leaders is a great way to spotlight the work being done in the city, and we were excited to learn from the attendees as well.”

Chicago Loop Alliance is one of the founding members of the Global Business Districts Innovation Club, a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 so global cities could exchange innovative ideas in downtown management. This fall’s Learning Expedition is the inaugural event.

“To stay competitive in the face of a changing world, we need to learn,” said Marie-Célie Guillaume, CEO of Paris La Défense and president of the Global Business Districts Innovation Club. “The most effective learning outcomes go beyond the cognitive, to the collaborative and experiential. That’s why we created our first GBD Innovation Club Learning Expedition. Based on an experimental format, this expedition uses an exchange-centered focus as the primary source of inspiration and innovation.

Learn more about Global Business Districts Innovation Club here