Rapid Prototyping in the Public Interest

  By Adam Hecktman, Microsoft's Director of Technology & Civic Innovation for Chicago You don’t have to be a technology expert, or even more than a casual observer of technology, to know that data is everywhere, impacting every field, every industry, and just about every aspect of life. The recent advances in cloud computing power and the proliferation of sensor technology have incredible potential to help humans in terms of what they are capable of.  With the... Read the rest of this entry »
 

The Problem of Industrial Succession Space

The Chicago economy is continually launching new companies.  Some spin off from older firms; others are start-ups nurtured by business incubators.  One notable incubator is the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), which has incubated thousands of new companies. Founded in 1967 ICNC is home to over 110 small companies at a time which are supported to grow, and then outgrow their ICNC space.  ICNC is also launching The Hatchery, an incubator focused on food start-ups.... Read the rest of this entry »
 

Industrial EcoDistricts Present Major Opportunity as Manufacturing Returns to Urban Communities

There are over 950,000 more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. today than in 2010. This resurgence presents a major opportunity for communities. As a segment of manufacturers turns away from the inefficiencies of sprawling suburban industrial parks and re-onshores production from overseas locations there is growing demand for urban locations. But cities that want to take advantage of manufacturing’s return need to be fully prepared. An EcoDistrict approach to industrial revitalization can help keep... Read the rest of this entry »
 

Withdrawing from Paris Agreement a Mistake

President Trump’s recent announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change was a disappointing step backward for the nation on one of the greatest global challenges of our era.  The impacts of climate change are already happening today—we are seeing flooding communities, droughts, and an increasing frequency of so-called “100 year storms.” Turning a blind eye in the hopes of resurrecting an antiquated, outdated carbon-based economy is not going to make the... Read the rest of this entry »
 

It's Time to Rethink That Infrastructure Question

It will cost about $4.6 trillion to bring U.S. infrastructure to a state of good repair, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card released last week.  If by some miracle our civic leadership raised all that money and hired the engineering and construction firms to do the work, we'd end up with thousands of examples of state-of-the-art 1950s investments. Let's not do that. Instead, let's acknowledge the costs of outdated approaches that wasted... Read the rest of this entry »
 

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