Chicago: The Global City

It may be America’s most interesting city, but not for the usual clichés. Rather, Chicago today is part beautiful and part bleak, created for one era and coping with another, an experiment in civic transformation. (Image: CC by/nc)

Culture in a City of Neighborhoods

Chicago doesn’t have an arts district. The city’s creativity springs from, and reveals itself in, all of its many communities. Thus each neighborhood is, or aspires to be, an arts district of its own. (Image: courtesy Sixty Inches from Center)

The Fresh Coast

Founded on the shores of the Great Lakes, which 18th-century French explorers called the “sweetwater seas,” Chicago recognized early the value of its access to the world’s largest freshwater system. (Image: Heather Phillips CC by/nc/sa)

Chicago Architecture

Perhaps more than any other American city, Chicago has used architecture to express its identity and assert itself – and, when need be, reassert itself – on the world stage. (Image: Justin Kern CC by/sa/nc)

Empowering Women

There’s no shortage of Chicago women making their mark on the global scene. But the women most likely to determine Chicago’s future as a global power are the ones you’ve never heard of. (Image: © Paul Natkin via Open Books)

The Heart of Black America

Harold Washington

Harlem may be lauded as the symbolic capital of black America, but Chicago is the heart. (Image: Marc PoKempner ©)

Obama’s Chicago

Barack Obama’s choice of Chicago as his political and psychic home seems brilliant in retrospect. Yet in many ways, it was an unlikely launching pad for America’s first black president.

Global Food Security

While the number of small organic farms is growing, they provide less than one percent of the United States food supply. The larger trend is for American farms to get bigger, and most food is grown on big, highly-specialized farms; these are the farms the feed the world. But large-scale farming is not sustainable as long as it relies on chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers that damage the land and pollute the water.

The Birthplace of Community Organizing

Chicago is considered the birthplace of community organizing; this is where Saul Alinsky founded the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council in 1939 and the Industrial Areas Foundation in 1940, and where Barack Obama was trained in that tradition forty years later. (Image: jvoves CC-by-nc-sa)

Local Afghans’ Views on War

As NATO ponders its Afghanistan legacy and future, so, too, do many of the Afghans who have made Chicago their new home.

More briefing papers

Get the complete list of Chicago briefing papers and source lists here.


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