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Urban Forum: Chicago Futures

On April 10, 2024 the Urban Forum was held on UIC's campus. The diverse panels discussed topics such as what will the next 50 years bring, and how will Chicago confront the challenges of climate change, growing income inequality, and health disparities? How will a multicultural, globally connected, polarized city with a rich legacy of city planning and architectural vernacular embrace future uncertainty? How will employment trends, migration patterns, and environmental threats shape its population and built environment? Which neighborhoods will experience growth, and which will decline?


The UIC Urban Forum has a history of deliberating important questions facing today’s cities. Look below to view highlights and pictures from the forum, where  leaders from the city’s planning, policy, nonprofit, and arts communities shared bold visions for Chicago’s future.


This year we also celebrated 50 years of the Department of Urban Planning and Policy.


Panel Discussion

What Trends Will Matter Most to Chicago's Well-Being Over the Next Fifty Years?

Moderated by Rachel Weber, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy, UIC and featuring:

Ayana Contreras, Cultural historian, memory worker, radio DJ at WBEZ

Nina Idemudia, AICP, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Marisa Novara. Vice President, Community Impact, The Chicago Community Trust

Nik Theodore, UIC Distinguished Professor; Director Center for Urban Economic Development


Lightning Talk Presentations

The Lightning Talk segment was intended to introduce audience members to provocative and creative ideas for making Chicago's future brighter. The lighting talks featured dynamic, forward-thinking speakers who laid out a single idea or vision to improve some aspect of Chicago's future built, natural or social environments.


Keynote Addresses

Geoffrey Baer, Executive Producer/On-Air Host, WTTW

Lee Bey, Architecture Critic, Chicago Sun-Times; Author of Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side

Click here to learn more.


About the UIC Urban Forum

As a major research university in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is truly a global institution. As such, UIC has taken a lead role in convening scholars, public intellectuals, policymakers and elected officials to discuss, analyze and propose pragmatic and innovative solutions that will enhance the lives of city-dwellers around the globe.

The UIC Forum has evolved over the years. Its roots date back to 1995, when the first Forum was convened under the direction of UIC’s Great Cities Institute. In 2005, and for the following five years, UIC partnered with the City of Chicago and the Daley Family to host what was then called the UIC Richard J. Daley Urban Forum. Now, under the direction of the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), the UIC Urban Forum will continue the tradition of hosting a national event designed to advance the dialogue about the future of urban communities.