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Downtown Futures Series Inspires a Smarter Chicago

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Posted  29 days ago  by  Ammanuel M. Ayalew

Chicago Loop Alliance completed its third year of the Downtown Futures Series, a trio of conversations – moderated by David Broz, principal of Gensler Design – with innovative minds to create a smarter Chicago. About 240 stakeholders attended this three-part series, which explored a variety of topics designed to position the Chicago Loop in the driver’s seat of innovation.

The first topic in 2018, The Talent Equation = Space + Amenities + Neighborhood, emphasized the value employees assign to a company’s office space design, access and convenience of public transportation, and top-notch residential amenities. In a panel comprised of Tim Handorf, co-founder and CEO of G2 Crowd, Eddie Lou, executive chairman and co-founder of Shiftgig, and Maggie Brophy, leasing director of Telos Group, Chicago Loop Alliance explored how a premier downtown can impact  a company's employee equations.

David Broz - Principal of Gensler

Airports: Connecting Downtowns to the World explored the relationship between Chicago airports and the Loop business district. Keynote speaker Susan Kurland, deputy commissioner of Airport Service Development at Chicago Department Aviation, discussed the $8.7 billion expansion of O’Hare International Airport to increase its total number of annual passengers from nearly 80 million to 100 million.

Susan Kurland - Deputy Commissioner of Airport Service Development at Chicago Department Aviation

Ron Shimizu, vice president and senior engineer manager of WSP Consultants, offered insights into the transportation projects between the Chicago’s airports and the Loop. Sammy Patel, CEO of Midway Partnership Vantage Airport Group Chicago Management, discussed Midway Airport’s significant changes to its roster of restaurants, highlighting the addition of local dining options that provide travelers a taste Chicago’s diverse culinary tradition.

The third and final event in the series, under the topic Strong Neighborhoods, Strong Downtown, zoomed in on how cities comprised of healthy neighborhoods, filled with residents, job opportunities, and culture, are more attractive to people and investment. As the keynote speaker, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development David Reifman presented the city’s investment in underserved neighborhoods through equitable-development programs  that use funds generated from downtown construction projects.

Karin Norington-Reaves - CEO of Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, discussed how her organization is training and matching people in different professions with a variety of jobs. Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, stressed the importance of an inclusive downtown. He encouraged the audience to venture out of their comfort zone and experience the whole of Chicago.

Chicago Loop Alliance will announce the next slate of Downtown Futures Series topics in 2019. In the meantime, stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.