2019 Urban Innovation Symposium - Evening Session

APA Illinois Chapter


Friday, January 25, 2019, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, January 25, 2019, 9:30 p.m. CST

CM | 2.50

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The evening session will consist of two discussion panels and a closing keynote.

1. The Future of Co-ops – How Cooperatives can Contribute to Community Economic Development in Chicago - Cooperatives are value-driven business enterprises that are collectively owned and democratically controlled by their members. While there are thousands of (non-housing) cooperatives in cities across the country, there are relatively few in Chicago but their numbers are steadily increasing. Even more promising is the fact that Cook County recently passed a resolution supporting the development of worker cooperatives. We will explore how different types of cooperatives are playing a role in community economic development and the potential for expanding cooperative enterprises in Chicago, especially in marginalized neighborhoods.

2. The Language of Environmental Justice – As movements emerge across the country to address issues such as environmental degradation, resiliency, sustainability, and public health, it is imperative to understand how these issues intersect with environmental and social justice on a local level. Well-intentioned environmental policies are often unevenly distributed along racial and economic lines, where poorer communities are disproportionately affected. With this panel we hope to explore how different communities experience environmental injustice, and the differences in the language used to confront environmental degradation around Chicago.  We have selected our panelists as representatives of the different voices in the city who are mobilizing their communities to address these kinds environmental issues.

3. Closing Keynote - Dark Mountain, Dark City – Perhaps the most fundamental question we might ask concerning urban innovation is whether or not cities are—in general, and even under the best of circumstances —capable of being morally sound institutions.  This is a grand philosophical question, to be sure, but also one with pressing and immediate implications for us today. The history of ethical theory from the Enlightenment on has not been helpful when it comes to providing a foundation for living in a truly just and environmentally sound way together.  But philosophy, especially in conversation with art, might yet point us toward the questions we should be asking and some possible answers to those questions. In a lecture combined with live dance performance, we will thus try to think together beyond the discourse of “sustainability”; asking if cities are necessarily tied to colonialism (and thus racism and exploitation); investigating the problems of scale and size; raising our expectations beyond neoliberal capitalist-democracy’s “quick-fix” schemes; and confronting what it might mean if we accept that our current trajectory is morally and politically doomed, needing something far more radical than a gentle course correction. 


Gregory Berlowitz

Gregory Berlowitz, Greg is the founder of Chicago Market and a current board member. He believes in the power of democratic organizations to solve community problems such as access, quality and transparency. Chicago Market is dedicated to making change in our local food system by building a community-owned cooperative store ... Read More

John McMicken

John McMicken, CEO Cleveland-based Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, currently oversees Evergreen’s five operating entities: Evergreen Energy Solutions, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, Green City Growers (hydroponic greenhouse), Evergreen Business Services (professional services), and The Fund for Employee Ownership which launched in 2018. John comes to Evergreen from Virtical Technologies LLC, an IT ... Read More

Janette Robles

Janette Robles, New Era Windows Cooperative. New Era Windows was part of my life before it even existed. My father worked at Republic Windows and Doors for 8 years. The Occupation of Republic back in December of 2008 was a blessing in disguise. While many of us saw it as ... Read More

Kim Wasserman-Nieto

Kim Wasserman-Nieto is the Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), where she has worked since 1998. Kim joined LVEJO as an organizer and helped to organize community leaders to successfully build a new playground, community gardens, remodel of a local school park and force a local ... Read More

Naomi Davis

Naomi Davis is an attorney, entrepreneur, activist, and granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers who founded Blacks in Green(TM) to remind generations of our great cultural legacy - which is our stewardship of the land - and to reinvent that legacy in the age of climate change. Naomi serves on the boards of ... Read More

H. Peter Steeves

H. Peter Steeves, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Humanities Center at DePaul University where he specializes in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophy of science. Peter is the author of several books, including: Founding Community: A Phenomenological-Ethical Inquiry (Kluwer, 1998); Animal Others: On Ethics, Ontology, and Animal ... Read More

Danielle Meijer

Danielle Meijer, M.S., is an adjunct instructor of philosophy at DePaul University and the founder and artistic director of Aleph World Fusion Dance, a company specializing in the thoughtful fusion of over a dozen different dance styles from around the world. Danielle’s graduate degrees are in experimental psychology ... Read More

Contact Info

Brandon Nolin, cms@ilapa.org