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Chicago Loop Alliance concludes this year's Downtown Futures Series with 'Strong Neighborhoods, Strong Downtown'

Posted  5 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 31, 2018

CHICAGO—A commonly accepted notion in urban and economic development is that a strong central business district will “trickle down” to strengthen a city’s neighborhoods. But what if that concept were flipped? This is the topic of discussion for the final event of the year in Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) Downtown Futures Series. “Strong Neighborhoods, Strong Downtown” takes place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 1871, 222 W. Merchandise Mart, Suite 1212. Tickets are $20, or free for CLA members, and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/2Q1eNZX.

Cities comprised of healthy neighborhoods, filled with residents, job opportunities and culture, are more attractive to people and investment. What would stronger, more engaged Chicago neighborhoods mean for the Loop? Keynote David Reifman, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, will join panelists Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, and Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, in exploring the relationship between strong neighborhoods and a strong downtown. The panel will be moderated by David Broz, principal at Gensler.

 “A lot of times, Loop stakeholders think the only way to improve downtown is to invest directly in downtown,” said CLA President and CEO Michael Edwards. “That is an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only piece. And what we’re seeing in Chicago is that investment in downtown is not just organically trickling down to all of our neighborhoods – especially to the south and west. What we’re hearing from experts is that concerted efforts in bringing more resources and opportunities to these underserved neighborhoods will actually benefit the Loop in the long run. We wanted to explore that idea further.”

Sponsors for the 2018 Downtown Futures Series are Streetplus (presenting sponsor), Time Zone One and Sun Badger Solar (supporting sponsors).

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, creates, manages and promotes high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.LoopChicago.com.

About Downtown Futures Series

Chicago Loop Alliance’s Downtown Futures Series, now in its third season, brings recognized urban thought leaders into public dialogues on emerging downtown trends and their impact on Chicago’s Loop. Forums are held three times annually.

About the keynote: David Reifman

David L. Reifman was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in August 2015. A native Chicagoan, Reifman is responsible for leading the department's Housing, Economic Development, and Planning & Zoning bureaus while fostering community-improvement projects and initiatives throughout the city. He serves on the Chicago Plan Commission, Community Development Commission, and Commission on Chicago Landmarks, among other public agencies. He is also chairman of the board of the Chicago Development Fund.

About the panelists

Karin Norington-Reaves oversees the administration of federal, state, and philanthropic funds and the creation of effective programs that assure symmetry between the skills demanded by a changing economy and those offered by the region's workforce. Karin serves on the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) and the Board of Advisors for LISC Chicago.

Jahmal Cole is the founder of social impact org, My Block, My Hood, My City. Through working with juveniles in Cook County Prison, Mr. Cole encountered young adults that could not dream beyond the small block they lived on, let alone know any of the incredible opportunities Chicago had to offer. From the inspiration that these young adults brought Mr. Cole, My Block, My Hood, My City was created.

About the moderator: David Broz

David Broz, an 18-year Gensler veteran is Principal, a leader of Gensler’s global Community Sector and a member of the Gensler Management Committee. He serves on the Academic Advisory Board at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, and he is the immediate past chair of Chicago Loop Alliance’s Board of Directors. He is also the founding chairperson of the Chicago Placemaking Committee and founding member of the Wabash Arts Corridor Advisory Board, and he serves with the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Placemaking Advisory Committee.


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