Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala convened at a Chicago Milan Sister Cities Reception to discuss the state of urban design and innovation in both cities, as well as the upcoming 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB). The 2017 CAB will be the largest international convening of contemporary architecture in North America, and is expected to welcome visitors from around the world. The theme is “Make New History,” and will be centrally located in the Chicago Cultural Center with special projects and exhibitions city-wide. CAB will be free and open to the public from September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2018.
“Chicago’s history is tantamount to architectural innovation, and we welcome the opportunity to lead a global discussion on the future of architecture,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial will focus on looking to the past for inspiration and provoke us to think about architecture in new and unexpected ways. We are in the midst of an urban renaissance, with cities across the world becoming even greater places for commerce and for everyday life.”
The conversation between Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Sala encouraged discussion about the future of architecture and global expression in cities worldwide, as well as the importance of taking steps in combatting climate change. Hosted by Chicago Sister Cities, the conversation was facilitated by Manfredi Catella, President of Fondazione Riccardo Catella. The Riccardo Catella Foundation promotes the development of responsible, sustainable and inclusive societies, and is committed to creating national awareness of global issues such as climate change.
“I am delighted to join Mayor Emanuel in sharing ideas on supporting our cities to become more sustainable and socially inclusive communities,” Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala. “It is more urgent than ever to recognize and share the beauty and rich architectural history of cities throughout the world.”
Sala and Emanuel also engaged in a presentation and convening about CAB and the importance of urban planning, rethinking public spaces and the role architecture in plays the current global political environment. CAB was envisioned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is an outgrowth of the comprehensive cultural plan developed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Released in October 2012, the Chicago Cultural Plan provides a framework to guide the city’s cultural and economic growth.
“International discussion about architectural projects and spatial experiments create a platform for architects and designers to innovate on a global scale,” said Sharon Johnston co-Artistic Director at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. “Conversations between cities like Chicago and Milan can radically transform our experience and help bring our cultures closer together.”
“The Chicago Architecture Biennial convenes a captive international audience and provides a wide range of programs for Chicagoans and visitors alike,” said Jack Guthman, Chair of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. “Chicago is widely recognized as a center for architectural innovation, and we are proud to partner with the city and a diversity of cultural institutions to enhance the goals of these joint ventures.”
Record numbers of tourists are expected to visit during this year’s CAB. Over 500,000 people from around the globe participated in various events across the many installation locations at the inaugural 2015 event. This year’s also CAB aligns with the sixth EXPO CHICAGO, which underscores the important convening power that Chicago has for architectural innovation across the world. EXPO CHICAGO will run from September 13–17 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall and welcome 135 leading galleries representing 25 countries and 58 cities from around the world, including the United States and Italy.
The city welcomed a record 52.55 million domestic visitors and an estimated 1.56 million overseas visitors in 2016. In that year, Chicago's tourism industry supported an estimated 145,137 jobs (3.3 percent increase) and $15 billion in direct tourism spending (2.6 percent increase). That's an increase of nearly 17,000 new jobs since Mayor Emanuel took office.
Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Sala convened in March 2017 along with 17 mayors spanning five continents, 11 countries and who represent 44 million people for the Urban Waterways Forum in Chicago. The event, co-hosted by World Business Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, was designed to foster an international conversation about the future of urban waterways.
Milan and Chicago have been part of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) for over 44 years. As the largest and most active sister cities organization in the United States, CSCI partners with 28 sister cities in the areas of economic development, tourism, immigration, education, and cultural enrichment, expanding Chicago’s global reach for the benefit of the Chicago, its residents and businesses. As a division of World Business Chicago since 2013, CSCI works to bind Chicago’s international programming with its economic development goals.