Urban Forum highlights resilience of cities

Gov. Pat Quinn and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are among the civic and community leaders scheduled to speak at the 2012 UIC Urban Forum next week.Urban Forum logo

The event, “Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Turmoil,” will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Dec. 6 in the UIC Forum.

Admission is free for UIC students and employees with i-card, but registration is required. Register and view the agenda online.

Speakers will address how the quality of city life is tied to environmental, infrastructural, organizational and human challenges.

“Estimates of infrastructure needs, pension obligations and future health costs for retired city employees have risen to trillions of dollars,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and director of the Urban Forum.

“Metropolitan regions and cities — the engines of the national and global economies — are straining to deliver adequate municipal services, which are critical to private-sector growth, capital formation, workforce training and long-term sustained economic growth.”

Panel topics include cities’ responses to economic challenges, how cities can collaborate while competing in the new economy and the effect of pension and infrastructure costs on economic recovery.

About 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, which are responsible for 85 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Pagano said.

“Cities will determine the kind of nation we become by their response to universal needs like transportation, economic development and health care,” he said.

“We need to create a new fiscal architecture for cities that allows them to meet their financial and service obligations without going broke and without imposing an unfair burden on local residents and businesses.”

Honorary Urban Forum co-chairs include Quinn, Preckwinkle, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

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