UChicago to host kickoff to World Urban Forum on March 4

The University of Chicago will lead a regional discussion about cities of the future that will serve as a kickoff to this year’s World Urban Forum, a biennial event organized by the United Nations that will convene in Colombia next month.

“The Informed City: Data-Driven Approaches to a More Just, Equitable, and Sustainable City” will bring together experts in the public, private, academic and non-profit sector to share their insights on data-driven approaches to urban issues from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4 at the Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive. Event registration is open to the public, and the conference will be webcast live

The Office of Housing and Urban Development approached the University of Chicago about leading a pre-session in Chicago, one of a handful of cities across the country that HUD tapped to help organize a U.S. delegation and “regional discussions” leading up to the seventh session of the World Urban Forum, taking place April 5-11 in Medellín, Colombia. This will be the first time the University of Chicago has participated in the World Urban Forum.

The Chicago forum will focus on determining the best evidence-based approaches to some of the most pressing urban challenges in the region and across the globe. The event is sponsored by the University’s Office of Civic Engagement and Global Engagement Office, in partnership with HUD, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Sister Cities International, the MacArthur Foundation, and UN Habitat.

“The University of Chicago has a breadth of expertise and an interdisciplinary approach to working with and developing solutions with cities,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement for the University. “This dialogue will highlight some of those approaches and bring together additional expertise from across the city and region to add Chicago’s voice to the World Urban Forum.”

Ian Solomon, Vice President for Global Engagement, added, “The University of Chicago is engaging scholars around the world in a number of ways, including through academic research aimed at addressing global challenges. Leading this session and taking part in this year’s World Urban Forum expands on that engagement.”

One of the Chicago event sessions will focus on computation and data, for example, looking at how the discipline can be used for everything from urban planning and design to improving public health outcomes and boosting community involvement.

The University’s participants in this panel include Charlie Catlett, director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data; Kate Cagney, associate professor of sociology and health studies and director of the Population Research Center; Stacy Lindau, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, medicine-geriatrics and director of the South Side Health and Vitality Studies; and Melissa Gilliam, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and co-founder of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab—an initiative in which community youth collaborate with faculty and university students to create digital stories and games to explore health and social issues.

Another panel dealing with sustainable water issues will explore basic and applied sciences as well as infrastructure development, while a session on violence prevention will include experts in social services, economic development and public policy.

“We are looking at designing, enhancing and improving cities from every aspect and really working across traditional issues to achieve solutions,” said lead event organizer Alaina Beverly, director of Urban Affairs for the University of Chicago Offices of Federal Relations and Civic Engagement.

Register to attend the “Informed City” discussion at https://uchicagoengages.wufoo.com/forms/world-urban-forum-7-chicago-dialogue/.  To watch the event via live webcast, visit http://uchic.ag/live. Follow the discussion on Twitter via #uchiWUF and #ourWUF.