We stand firmly in a moment of pride and possibility.

Cara Staff

The following is excerpted from the Better Chicago Together Transition Report written by the transition committees of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and submitted on May 17, 2019 ahead of her inauguration. The below is from the committee on Business, Economic, and Neighborhood Development, which was co-chaired by Cara President & CEO Maria Kim. Click here to read the full report, including recommendations for the Mayor’s administration.

We stand firmly in a moment of pride and possibility.

We are proud of our city — this global leader and convener, replete with a strong central business district and innovative emerging businesses, a lattice of incomparable neighborhoods rich with cultural histories and herstories, and a cadre of individuals who work and play here by day and build homes and communities here by night—all committed to taking this city of proven results and promise to its most vibrant potential.

We are mobilized by possibility — understanding that even with our vitality, not all Chicagoans share the same horizon view. And even with our incredible innovation, significant pockets of our city feel the weight of our inequity. Therefore, we remain steadfast in our commitment to not relent in our policies and our practices until the promise of our big shoulders is felt by all.

So we hold two truths at once — that we live and we lead in one of the most powerful cities in the world, and that we aspire to have all residents feel that same sense of power in the neighborhood corridors they call home.

To do this, we must reinvest in a platform that amplifies innovation in our commerce, from the budding entrepreneur to the formidable global companies headquartered in our region. We must incentivize strategic partnership to pivot supply chains into true value chains so businesses of all sizes and in all corners of our city can rise up.

We must make transparent how capital is invested, share decision-making power in that process, and be accountable to our progress—creating more equitable investments for all.

And to support this growth, we must build more diverse, more inclusive work cultures, by celebrating the leaders we cultivate in our preeminent educational institutions and compelling businesses to draw from this well in the global war for talent. At the same time, we must open and accelerate more meaningful on-ramps for residents who have been sidelined from mainstream employment.

If we do this, we balance both the pride and the honesty about who we are and the power we bring, with the aspiration of who we can become—inviting people to remain in or rejoin our city and elevate possibility for all.

We remain the city of the century.

A city whose inspiring skyline and community corridors remind us that industry leads and learns here. A city made stronger by the draw of the business district and the ingenuity of an immigrant community who feeds and who fuels the optimism of today’s Chicago. And a city that embraces the vitality of the region equal to the vibrancy of each neighborhood—recognizing that it is precisely this balance that makes us the inimitable city we are.

We are the new coast.

Just as our coast connects the extremities of our city with the shoreline of our city center, we believe our path forward must intentionally connect those same dots, and include these key levers:
✶ Recognition of our need to attract and amplify businesses that sustain our position as an economic driver of the region and the state.
✶ Rapid elevation of equitable investment in people and places (and reduction of barriers to entry) as a combined means to inclusive growth.
✶ Deep understanding of the under-leveraged asset base inside our communities that could be critical to new commerce and new opportunity.
✶ Distribution of both public and private resources in a concentrated, coordinated, and sustained manner to stimulate catalytic, jobs-rich, large-scale retail corridor, business, and industrial investments.
✶ Shared leadership and decision-making that relies on inclusive policy setting, leveraging the talents, voice, and experience of local residents.

A city of the century sees thriving business as the linchpin of regional vitality and recognizes that it derives innovation from all neighborhoods. It sees talent as ubiquitous, and leaders not defined by their titles, but by their insights. It ignites community investment by engaging radically inclusive decision-making bodies.

And it drives possibility through a broad, regional strategy for growth, which benefits all of Chicago, while supporting current business, complementing regional opportunities, and competing in the global economy.

This is today’s new coast…

The previous was excerpted from the Better Chicago Together Transition Report written by the transition committees of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and submitted on May 17, 2019 ahead of her inauguration. Click here to read the full report, including recommendations for the Mayor’s administration.