Imagining our Emergent City

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; a worsening climate crisis; an increasingly unproductive political discourse; and a long-overdue reckoning about systemic racism, a popular narrative about the decline and even death of America’s cities has emerged.  As the quintessential American city, Chicago’s collective future is similarly being called into question, even as these intertwined challenges put the individual futures of its residents at risk. 

The Chicago Futures Project aims to open a space for the creation of informed counter-narratives for our city and ourselves, grounded in dialogue between academic and lived knowledges.  What futures become imaginable for Chicago, in the light of recent scholarship about cities and the (eco)systems that they inhabit?  What futures are being worked toward by our city’s communities and leaders, and why?  And what futures can we envision for ourselves, as we each explore our post-2020 potential in the space of our world-class city?

Chicago Futures is a collaboration between Chicago Studies and the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse.

PDF version here

Distinguished Lectures

Wednesdays 4:10-5:30 PM CST | All lectures broadcast live on Zoom

Registration now open for Winter lectures (Zoom)

Winter Chicago Conversations: The Future Of...

Fridays 12:30-1:30 PM CST | All sessions occur live on Zoom and will be archived as podcasts

View all Winter 2021 events here!

Spring Break: Design Chicago, and your Life!

What future do YOU imagine for Chicago, ca. 2050?  For yourself, ca. 2025?  How could we get there, starting...right now? 

The Chicago Futures "Design Your Chicago" Hackathon will invite individual creators and teams of urban innovators, cyberpunks, and artists to sprint backwards through 30 years of future history, charting new courses for Chicago life in just over 30 hours. Proposals will be evaluated by Chicago leaders in business, government, arts, and culture, with prizes awarded in a range of categories.  More information and team registration coming soon!

Wondering about your OWN future, in Chicago and beyond?  Join us for an immersive "Design Your Life" retreat experience, facilitated remotely by a trained DYL expert during the week of Break.  More information and individual registration coming soon!

Spring Chicago Conversations: The Future Of...

Fridays 12:30-1:30 PM CDT | All sessions broadcast live on Zoom and as Podcasts

Chicago Futures is a signature event of College Winterfest 2021.  For information about other Winterfest programming, visit the Winterfest homepage.