Newswise — Chicago was a different city when the University of Illinois Chicago founded its Department of Urban Planning and Policy in 1973. Manufacturing accounted for almost one-third of all jobs held by Chicago residents. The Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world for the next 25 years, was completed and occupied.

What will the next 50 years bring to Chicago?

At UIC’s 2024 Urban Forum, titled “Chicago Futures,” leaders from the city’s planning, policy, nonprofit and arts communities will convene to deliberate the issues and uncertainties facing the city. They’ll consider Chicago’s next 50 years and how to face the most pressing problems in planning, economics, climate and neighborhoods.

The forum will take place April 10, noon-5:30 p.m. at Student Center East, Illinois Room, 750 S. Halsted St.

The event’s keynote speakers are Geoffrey Baer, executive director and on-air host at WTTW-TV; Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic and author of “Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side;” and Jacoby Cochran, a writer, educator, storyteller and host of the “City Cast Chicago” podcast.

The forum’s signature panel, “What trends will matter most to Chicago’s well-being over the next 50 years?,” will feature esteemed panelists Ayana Contreras, cultural historian, memory worker, radio DJ at WBEZ and archivist; Nina Idemudia, chief executive officer at the American Institute of Certified Planners; Marisa Novara, vice president of community impact for The Chicago Community Trust; and Nik Theodore, UIC distinguished professor of urban planning and policy and director of the Center for Urban Economic Development. Rachel Weber, UIC professor of urban planning and policy, will moderate their discussion.

The Lightning Talk segment will feature more than a dozen forward-thinking speakers presenting provocative, creative ideas for Chicago’s built, natural or social environments in the future.

Admission is $25 for the general public and includes a box lunch. Admission is free for all Chicago-area teachers, faculty and students with a valid school ID. UIC faculty, students and staff also may attend for free with a valid UIC i-card. All attendees must register online before the event. For more information, email [email protected].

Event details, including the agenda and speaker bios, are available on the UIC Urban Forum website. Follow the UIC Urban Forum on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) for updates.

Co-chairs of the 2024 UIC Urban Forum are Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president, and Marie Lynn Miranda, UIC chancellor. Joe Hoereth, director of UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, serves as program director.

The event is sponsored by the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, WBEZ 91.5 and Vocalo.