ON TO 2050 Forums

ON TO 2050 Forums

To engage stakeholders and the general public, CMAP has hosted a number of topical forums to shed light on topics that will inform the region's comprehensive plan. 

Alternative Futures Forum

Alternative Futures Forum Series

From April through August 2017, CMAP and its partners hosted monthly ON TO 2050 Alternative Futures Forums, inviting people to imagine challenges and opportunities our region will face by 2050.

Doing More with Less in 2050
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. 
Homewood-Flossmoor Auditorium, 2010 N. Chestnut Rd., Homewood, IL

The opportunity to move up the economic ladder has been a cornerstone of the American Dream, yet research shows that fewer than 50 percent of Millennials will make more money than their parents do.  Unequal access to education, employment, and critical resources is preventing some individuals from realizing their full potential—and, ultimately, limiting the region's growth and competitiveness.  How can metropolitan Chicago adapt to ensure that the American Dream is obtainable here, and that our economy is thriving between now and 2050?

This forum was co-sponsored by Cook County, the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, Southwest Conference of Mayors, and Will County Governmental League.

Alden Loury, Director of Research and Evaluation, Metropolitan Planning Council

Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Chair, Illinois Community College Board 
Marie Trzupek Lynch, CEO and President, Skills for Chicagoland's Future
Bhash Mazumder, Senior Economist and Research Advisor and Director, Chicago Census Research Data Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

This event was approved for 1.5 CM credits through the American Planning Association-Chicago Metro Section.


The Future of Economic Opportunity
Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St., Libertyville, IL

In 2050, resources to fund infrastructure and vital public services at all levels of government – federal, state, and local – are likely to be diminished.  Governments need to develop new revenue sources and adopt creative solutions to continue providing the services their residents expect.  How will the region and its municipalities respond in order to balance what they have with what they need by 2050?  And what can be done to give the region the best chance at success? 

This forum was co-sponsored by the Lake County Municipal League, McHenry County Council of Governments, and Northwest Municipal Conference.

Kerry Lester, Columnist and Senior Writer, Daily Herald

John S. Gates Jr., Chairman and CEO, PortaeCo, LLC
The Honorable Leon Rockingham, Mayor, North Chicago
Megan McKenna, Executive Director, Mano a Mano Resource Center
Paula Wolff, Director, Illinois Justice Project

The Libertyville Civic Center is a short walk from the Libertyville Station of the Milwaukee District North Metra line.  If you are traveling from downtown Chicago to Libertyville, outbound options include the 1:35 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. trains departing from Union Station.  Following the event, trains from Libertyville to Chicago depart at 7:49 p.m. and 8:26 p.m.  Numerous dining options are available in downtown Libertyville near the Metra station.  The Civic Center is also accessible via the #574 Pace bus, and free parking is available at the parking structure on the southeast corner of Brainerd and Church.

Harnessing Technology for Future Mobility
Thursday, June 22, 2017, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. 
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), 3201 S. State St., McCormick Tribune Campus Center, Chicago, IL 

From canals to railroads to highways, transportation technology has reshaped the Chicago region many times over.  We are once again at a moment when new technologies and information, such as ride sharing and automation, are changing how people get around, and how and where they live.  As transportation technology rapidly evolves, how will we harness it to improve our lives, local communities, and the region's economy?

This forum was co-sponsored by the Illinois Institute of Technology.



Andrea Hanis, Editor, Blue Sky Innovation, Chicago Tribune

Marshall Brown, Associate Professor, IIT College of Architecture
David Strickland, Partner, Venable LLP
Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities


Where We'll Live in 2050
Thursday, May 4, 2017, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. 
Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Lecture Hall, Chicago, IL

In recent decades, people in cities and suburbs have increasingly chosen to live in walkable communities with nearby places to shop, work and play. This has already begun transforming the fabric and character of many city neighborhoods and suburban downtowns. If the trend continues, how will our region look in 2050? How can communities adapt to and benefit from this trend? And how can livable communities be made attainable for everyone in the region, regardless of income, race, or national origin? 

This forum was co-sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and was presented as part of their monthly Design Dialogues series, which explores the latest issues and projects affecting Chicago.

Geoffrey Baer, Producer/Host, WTTW Channel 11

Tom Kirschbraun, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
Linda Searl, Principal, Searl Lamaster Howe Architects
Joanna Trotter, Senior Program Officer, The Chicago Community Trust


Thriving in a Changing Climate
Thursday, April 6, 2017 
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr., South Gallery, Chicago, IL

The climate is changing.  Already, northeastern Illinois is experiencing heavier rains, longer droughts, and more frequent heat waves due to rising average temperatures.  By 2050, our climate will differ from today's in fundamental ways, forcing us to rethink the way we build infrastructure, neighborhoods, and cities.  How can we prepare for this future in a way that protects our property values and natural resources and preserves a high quality of life for our region?  And how can we ensure that these strategies work for everyone? 

This forum was co-sponsored by the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which on March 25 will debut its latest exhibit, "Our House: Rethinking Home in a Changing Climate." Discover how scientists and architects are designing homes that withstand the effects of our changing climate, reduce our environmental impact, and support natural habitat for plants and animals.

Michael Hawthorne, Investigative Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Thomas A. Wall, Infrastructure and Preparedness Analyst, Risk and Infrastructure Science Center, Argonne National Laboratory
Kim Wasserman-Nieto, Executive Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Karen Weigert, Senior Fellow for Global Cities, Chicago Council on Global Affairs



Big Ideas Forums (2016-17)

From April through August 2017, CMAP and its partners hosted monthly ON TO 2050 Alternative Futures Forums, inviting people to imagine challenges and opportunities our region will face by 2050.

Reimagine Our Region for 2050
June 20, 2016
Co-hosted by CMAP and The Chicago Community Trust, at the Stony Island Arts Bank (6760 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago)

How will our region look in 2050?  Plan to join the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and The Chicago Community Trust to Reimagine Our Region for 2050 and kick off the ON TO 2050 Big Ideas Forums with four of the region's thought leaders sharing their creative visions for the future. 

Terry Mazany, The Chicago Community Trust

Gia Biagi, Studio Gang
Charlie Catlett, Argonne National Laboratory and the Urban Center for Computation and Data
Theaster Gates Jr., Rebuild Foundation and the University of Chicago


Have we reached peak driving? Planning for future travel in the Chicago region
September 22, 2016
1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Northwestern University McCormick Foundation Center Forum, 1870 Campus Dr., Evanston, IL

After a half-century of increases in car ownership, solo auto commuting, and roadway congestion across the Chicago region, the last decade has seen auto use stall or decline according to most measures. Have we truly passed "peak driving," or did recent economic conditions merely hit the pause button? CMAP and the Northwestern University Transportation Center invite you to a panel in which transportation experts will discuss this question and its implications for planning, policy, and infrastructure decisions through 2050.

Sarah Jindra, Transportation Reporter, WGN-TV

Hani Mahmassani, Director, Northwestern University Transportation Center
Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President for Policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology
John Oliveri, 21st Century Transportation Campaign Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)


Designing the Future: Gen X and Millennials in 2050

October 27, 2016
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
University of Illinois at Chicago

By 2050, metropolitan Chicago's senior population is expected to double. How will this demographic shift reshape our communities and the lifestyles of seniors and non-seniors alike? How will aging in place be different for the seniors of tomorrow -- Gen X and Millennials -- than for seniors today? CMAP and the Lifetime Communities Collaborative invite you to a panel discussion featuring experts in technology, design, and development who will discuss how their fields are preparing for the "age wave," and how seniors of every race, ethnicity, or income can live well in the coming decades.

Janet Smith, associate professor, University of Illinois at Chicago and Co-Director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center

Shelley Stern Grach, director of civic engagement Chicago, Microsoft
Matthew Phillips, executive vice president, Senior Lifestyle
Heidi Wang, associate principal, Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, and AIA Design for Aging Co-Chair


Development at the Edge: The Future of Regional Urbanization
December 6, 2016
4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway, Aurora

CMAP hosted a panel discussion of one of the oldest and most contentious topics facing the Chicago region: the on-going expansion of our urbanized area.

Between 2001-15, approximately 140,000 acres of agricultural and natural lands in metropolitan Chicago were developed, coinciding with a population shift away from the region's core.  Conversion of greenfields provides housing, jobs, and economic activity, but it can result in negative environmental impacts, the loss of rural character, and disinvestment in older communities that are losing population.  Meanwhile, the cost of providing services and maintaining infrastructure continues to rise.  Can we as a region afford to continue this suburbanization?  Should we?  

Carolyn Schofield, McHenry County Board and CMAP Board Member
Chuck Marohn, Founder and President of Strong Towns
Collete English Dixon, Managing Principal, Libra Investments Group, LLC
Curt Paddock, Director, Will County Land Use Department

This forum was presented in partnership with Kane County and the Illinois chapter of the American Planning Association. 

Closer to Home: Creating a Balanced Regional Housing Supply by 2050
February 28, 2017
9:00 to 10:30 a.m. 
Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, Chicago

When residents can choose from a variety of housing types and prices, it increases their access to jobs, shortens commute times, and reduces the number of people struggling with the cost of living. Yet, for local officials, defining and creating a balanced housing supply poses many substantial obstacles. What are the strategies that have proven most successful? How will long-term socioeconomic and demographic trends affect the types of housing people want? Join us for a discussion about how to create housing options that will meet the needs of residents in the Chicago region by 2050. 

Mary Ellen Podmolik, Associate Managing Editor/Business, Chicago Tribune