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Leaders in business, urban design, street art to speak at Chicago Loop Alliance's Downtown Futures Series: The Evolving Public Way

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Posted  5 months ago

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

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Oct. 2, 2019

CHICAGO—Local leaders from a variety of industries will convene on Oct. 23 for Chicago Loop Alliance’s “Downtown Futures Series: The Evolving Public Way.” Business owner Tamar Mizrahi (Goddess and the Baker), street artist Keith Smith (Afrokilla) and urban planner Ernest C. Wong (site design group, ltd.) will participate in a dialogue moderated by David Broz (Gensler). “Downtown Futures Series: The Evolving Public Way” takes place from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 23, at 150 North Riverside Plaza. Tickets are $20 (free for students and members) and can be bought at www.loopchicago.com/dfs.

By its simplest definition, the “public way” is any passageway — including streets, sidewalks and alleys—that the public uses to move through space. But as cities continue to evolve, the public way is more than a means of getting around — it is an opportunity for meaningful interaction. The public way is the space where what happens upstairs in a high rise meets what happens on the street. In the future, the public way will become places to experience, places to be and places of new opportunity.

Panelists will explore these ideas from the perspective of an artist who uses the public way as a canvas, a cafe owner who uses it to increase business and an urban planner who uses it to influence human behavior. Together, they will speculate how the public way will evolve to meet the needs of the Loop of the future.

“Much of what Chicago Loop Alliance does involves enhancing the public way,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We have our Clean Team and Street Ambassadors keeping State Street safe and inviting, we handle landscaping along the street, and our ACTIVATE events transform alleys into pop-up art exhibition spaces, creating memories for thousands of attendees. All of this work has the common goal of making the Loop vibrant, and there are so many cool ways others are using the public way to make life better for everyone who uses it. We’re excited to host these panelists in a discussion on the evolution of the public way.” 

About Downtown Futures Series

Chicago Loop Alliance’s Downtown Futures Series, now in its fourth 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 Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. CLA’s mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

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, is the vice chair of Chicago Loop Alliance’s Board of Directors, and serves on various placemaking boards in Chicago.

About the panelists

Tamar Mizrahi has been in the restaurant business for 20 years. Her first restaurant was on the South Side, Bamboo Blue, an Asian fusion restaurant. She has been working as the operational partner for Goddess and the Baker since its inception in 2014. She, along with her partner, Jim Garofalo, oversees all day-to-day operations and handles marketing, menu development and overall company culture. Goddess and the Baker has two locations in Chicago and one in Milwaukee. Two more locations are opening in River North and the Loop in late fall 2019.

Keith Smith (Afrokilla) is a colorful Chicago based artist, muralist and live painter. His artistic vibes promote humor, happiness and freedom of expression. Urban culture has become a staple of influence that has led his artistic focus toward spirituality and love.

Ernest C. Wong, FASLA, APA, is the co-founder and Principal of site design group, ltd. (site), an urban design and landscape architecture firm based in Chicago. The evolution of site under Wong’s leadership has transformed both the firm and the profession in the City of Chicago into a resource for creative design solutions and thoughtful community-oriented urban spaces. An advocate of contextually designed public open spaces and urban parks, Wong has directed nationally award-winning projects including Mary Bartelme Park, Henry Palmisano Park (formerly Stearns Quarry), Ping Tom Memorial Park and Argyle Shared Street. Wong chairs the Permit Review Committee on the Chicago Landmarks Commission, juries the Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design and is the incoming Chair of the Near South Planning Board.

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