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LISC Chicago

March 5, 2012
by Chris Loeber

 The Columbia Chronicle

Chicago’s leading thinkers discuss ideas for the future of the city

An Internet connection is essential to many Chicagoans for day-to-day life, but even the country’s third largest city suffers from a substantial shortage of this basic amenity.

“5 Big Ideas for the 21st Century City,” an event hosted by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation on Feb. 28, brought four of Chicago’s leading thinkers together to present ideas on how to tackle some of the city’s biggest problems, including a lack of broadband Internet access. The event took place at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

“The forum was meant to be a catalyst for thinking about ideas and building relationships,” said Susana Vasquez, executive director at LISC Chicago. “There were more than 500 people there exposed to new ideas and having an opportunity to start thinking differently about solving problems.”

The meeting was structured in a two-part, fast-paced format that required each speaker to describe five innovative solutions to the broadband access deficiency using 15 images for 15 seconds each. The discussion was then opened to the audience for additional ideas, comments and questions.

The meeting was moderated by David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative, and featured individuals such as Daniel O’Neil, executive director at Smart Chicago Collaborative, and Theaster Gates, director of the Arts and Public Life Initiative at University of Chicago.

“We had discussion about transparency [and] some of the issues related to a green economy,” Doig said. “It was very diverse, but I think that a lot of it was focused around access to technology.”

The city has been trying to provide broadband Internet access to all of its residents since the early ’90s, according to Doig, who is also a former first deputy commissioner at the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

Read the full article here