[Skip to Content]

Learning Expedition Chicago report released

Posted  4 years ago

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

MEDIA: View and download photos here.


CHICAGO—The Global Business Districts Innovation Club has released its Learning Expedition Chicago 2019 report, detailing the findings of an inaugural conference hosted by Chicago Loop Alliance in October that brought together leaders of global business districts and their managing companies from Casablanca, Chicago, Montreal, Moscow, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo and Toronto. The report is focused on the role of placemaking in successful downtown management and includes recaps of Learning Expedition Chicago sessions as well as case studies of participants’ placemaking projects.

Session topics include public space; arts and culture; residential living; global tourism; a local food scene; airports; business recruitment; office trends; attracting startups; and three “innovation” sessions presented by Mapillary, Vamonde and Omni Ecosystems. Case studies come from The East Cut in San Francisco, California; Chicago Loop Alliance in Chicago, Illinois; Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance in New York, New York; MIBC Moscow City in Moscow, Russia; Paris La Defense in Paris, France; and Union Square Business Improvement District in San Francisco, California.

“Chicago Loop Alliance was thrilled to host the inaugural Learning Expedition, and we’re excited to now share what came out of those three days of conversation with Chicago leaders and downtown managers from across the globe,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We hope this report is helpful to other downtown managers in their placemaking work.”

Trends revealed in the report include:

  • Natural elements such as parks, rivers, streams and lakes are increasingly important in business districts.
  • A rich collection of arts and cultural assets is now a necessity to attract and retain talent from around the world.
  • Residential preferences are shifting from the suburbs to the urban core.
  • Visitors and tourists are becoming a bigger economic driver than ever.
  • Dining, and a district’s local food scene, is becoming more influential than shopping when it comes to attracting visitors and investment.
  • Airports are undergoing development and renovation to give travelers an experience authentic to the city they’re in—even if they never set foot outside the airport.
  • While businesses used to choose space based on “location, location, location,” now they locate based on “talent, talent, talent.”

“The Learning Expedition report, which is the result of three days of presentations, visits and co-thinking sessions, reveals the main trends in the development of global business districts and identifies the common challenges, or opportunities, that are the key to the evolution and transformation of our territories,” said Marie-Célie Guillaume, chairwoman of GBD Innovation Club and CEO of Paris La Défense. “In 2020, we invite world business district leaders, their managing companies, urban planning authorities, representatives of the business community and experts in related fields to gather in Paris La Défense for a fast-paced trip focused on sustainable development issues in order to imagine a ‘global business district of tomorrow’ – attractive, smart, connected, green and competitive.”

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. 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.

About the Global Business Districts Innovation Club

The Global Business Districts Innovation Club is a professional ecosystem of world business districts, its managing companies, urban planning authorities, and experts of related fields mobilizing resources to foster cooperation, encourage knowledge sharing, enhance dynamism, attractiveness, and the spirit of innovation, and compare inspiring methods among the world’s most influent tertiary places. Its mission is to help world business districts to identify local innovative ideas and transform them into operational projects with global meaning. The Global Business Districts Innovation Club was founded in 2018 by: Paris La Défense, France; Chicago Loop Alliance, USA; Beijing CBD, China; Montreal Destination Centre-Ville, Canada; and Guangzhou, China.


Exclusive Loop deals, recommendations, and news direct from Chicago Loop Alliance.