2019 Urban Innovation Symposium - Evening Session
Friday, January 25, 2019, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, January 25, 2019, 9:30 p.m. CST
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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.
H. Peter Steeves
Brandon Nolin, firstname.lastname@example.org