UIC Urban Forum to examine influence, future of infrastructure

Urban Forum 2017 posterThe University of Illinois at Chicago’s 2017 Urban Forum brings together policymakers, civic leaders, researchers and journalists to discuss public infrastructure projects where people work and play, and to make well-designed urban plans that connect them.


Sept. 14, 8:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
(Doors open at 8 a.m.; Lunch served at 1 p.m.)


UIC Student Center East
Illinois Room
750 S. Halsted St.


From “hard infrastructure,” such as roads and bridges, dams and canals, to “soft infrastructure,” like parks and town squares, public art and rails-to-trails, a city’s overall infrastructure significantly influences daily life and links its residents, neighborhoods and businesses.

Given the important role of infrastructure, the 2017 UIC Urban Forum panels will address issues related to uniting hard and soft infrastructures, the built environment’s lasting impact on a city and its people, opportunities for economic development, and the future of city design.

Carol Ross Barney, founder and president of Ross Barney Architects, and Randy Blankenhorn, secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, will deliver keynote addresses.

The first panel, “Building a Just City: Shaping Communities’ Quality of Life,” will include Miguel Aguilar, artist; Gia Biagi, principal of urbanism and civic impact at Studio Gang; Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks; and Scott Stewart, executive director of the Millennium Park Foundation. The discussion will be moderated by Alexandra Salomon, editor for WBEZ’s Curious City.

The second panel, “Connecting People and Places: Designing Transportation Systems for Smart Cities,” will feature MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council; Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance; Clayton Harris III, executive director of the Illinois International Port District; and Leanne Redden, executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority. Miles Bryan, producer and reporter at WBEZ, will serve as moderator.

Full event details, including agenda, speakers, and white papers, are available via the Urban Forum website.

Admission is $25 for the general public (including lunch) and free for all Chicago-area teachers, faculty and students with a valid school ID. Registration is required for all attendees. Walk-in registration will be allowed with credit card or check payment only. For more information, call (312) 413-8088.

Co-chairs of the 2017 UIC Urban Forum are Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president; and Michael D. Amiridis, UIC chancellor. Michael A. Pagano, dean of the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, serves as program director.

This year’s Urban Forum is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, WBEZ 91.5, The Chicago Community Trust, UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.

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