Urban Innovation Symposium 

Chicago's leading planners—in one room.
The annual Urban Innovation Symposium showcases planning knowledge from across the Chicago region. During the daytime session, professionals from around the region provide insight into cutting-edge ideas through deep dive lectures and panelist discussions. At the evening event, urban professionals deliver discussions and presentations in a more casual environment. This informal atmosphere encourages attendees to get to know each other and network while enjoying food and drink. Free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Department of Urban Planning & Policy at UIC.

This is our 10-Year Anniversary event and we are showcasing planning knowledge from across the Chicago region. The day session brings professionals from around the region to provide insight into cutting-edge ideas surrounding water access, the decreasing black population in Chicago, and the 2020 Census. The evening session is a more relaxed atmosphere for urban professionals to deliver presentations
and network with one another.
Last year, the Symposium drew an audience of over 200 people, bringing together students, teachers, professionals, and community members. This year's event will return to its roots by focusing on collaborative creativity to solve a plethora of problems challenging the urban environment. The format will include expert
deep-dive lectures on specific topics as well as standard panel discussions to deliberate with experts and innovators within their respective fields. We are excited to present this format, which we believe will give the audience the opportunity to explore perspectives different from their own, and come away from the event with
renewed energy for conversation and collaboration.


10th Annual Urban Innovation Symposium



11:15am - 3:15pm

UIC Student Center East Room 329

750 S Halsted St 


4:30pm - 9:45pm

National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 W 19th St 

FREE TO ATTEND - Register here!

6.75 CM credits with APA IL

Get the latest Symposium news on Facebook 


Day Session (UIC Student Center East)

11:15 - 12:00pm Check-in and Food

12:00 - 12:05pm  Welcoming Remarks

                               Sandy Koo, Master of Ceremonies

                               Michael A. Pagano, Dean, UIC CUPPA


12:05 - 12:45pm Opening Keynote

                              Alden Loury, WBEZ

  12:45 - 1:45pm Panel #1: Mobility Justice (Cardinal Room)

                              Lynda Lopez, Active Transportation Alliance

                              D'Franz Smart, 2WheelGods

                              Kate Lowe, UIC

                              Moderated by Stacey Meekins, Sam Schwartz Consulting

                              Deep Dive #1: Population Migration (White Oak Room)

                              David Stovall, UIC

     1:45 -2:00pm Break

    2:00 - 3:00pm Panel #2: Census 2020: Economic & Political

                              Implications (Cardinal Room)

                              Marilyn Sanders, US Census Bureau

                              Kareem Butler, Chicago Urban League

                              Cecilia Reyes, Chicago Tribune

                              Patrick O'Connell, Chicago Tribune

                              Moderated by Kathleen Yang-Clayton, Austin Zamudio, UIC


                             Deep Dive #2: Water Access and Distribution

                             (White Oak Room)

                             Rachel Havrelock, Freshwater Lab at UIC


Evening Session (National Museum of Mexican Art)

4:30 - 5:30pm Check-in and Food

5:30 - 5:45pm Evening Remarks

                          Sandy Koo, Master of Ceremonies

5:45 - 6:45pm Panel #1: Food Justice

                         Rodger Cooley, Chicago Food Policy Action Council

                         Erika Allen, Urban Growers Collective

                         Nicole Robinson, Greater Chicago Food Depository

                         Moderated by Curt Winkle, UIC

6:45 - 7:00pm Break

7:00 - 8:00pm Panel #2: Tensions Between Public and Private

                         Approaches to Housing

                         Frank Avellone, Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing

                         Sharon Payne, Southside Together for Organizing Power

                         Jewell Walton, Chicago Housing Authority

                         Ebonee Green, Obama Community Benefits Agreement Coalition

                         Moderated by Janet Smith, UIC

8:00 - 9:00pm Networking



Alden Loury.jpg

Alden Loury

Senior Editor on Race, Class and Communities


Opening Keynote                                                

Lynda Lopez

Active Transportation Alliance,

Streetsblog Chicago

Mobility Justice                                                    

D'Frantz Smart

2WheelGods, WTF Bikexplorers

Mobility Justice                                                    

Kate Lowe.jpg

Kate Lowe

Professor of Urban Planning & Policy


Mobility Justice                                                    

Stacey Meekins.jpg

Stacey Meekins

Director of Transportation Planning

Sam Schwartz Consulting

Moderator: Mobility Justice                               

David Stovall

Professor of African American Studies and Law, Criminology & Justice


Population Migration                                         

Marilyn Sanders.jpg

Marilyn Sanders

Chicago Regional Director

U.S. Census Bureau

2020 Census                                                        

Kareem Butler

2020 Census Project & Policy Coordinator

Chicago Urban League

2020 Census                                                        

Cecilia Reyes.jpg

Cecilia Reyes


Chicago Tribune

2020 Census                                                        

Patrick M. O’Connell.jpg

Patrick O'Connell


Chicago Tribune

2020 Census                                                        

Kathleen Yang-Clayton.jpg

Kathleen Yang-Clayton

Professor of Public Administration


Moderator: 2020 Census                                   

Austin Zamudio.jpg

Austin Zamudio

Master of Public Administration Graduate


Moderator: 2020 Census                                   

Water Access & Distribution                             

Rachel Havrelock

Founder & Director

UIC Freshwater Lab

Rodger Cooley.jpg

Rodger Cooley

Executive Director

Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Food Justice                                                         

Erika Allen.jpg

Erika Allen

Co-Founder & CEO

Urban Growers Collective

Food Justice                                                         

Nicole Robinson

Vice President of Community Impact

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Food Justice                                                         

Curt Winkle.jpg

Curt Winkle

Professor of Urban Planning & Policy


Moderator: Food Justice                                    

Frank Avellone

Senior Attorney & Policy Coordinator

Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing


Sharon Payne

Co-Founder & Board Member

Southside Together Organizing for Power


Jewell Walton.jpg

Jewell Walton

Deputy Chief

Chicago Housing Authority


Janet Smith.jpg

Janet Smith

Professor of Urban Planning & Policy


Moderator: Housing                                           

A special thank you to our 2020 Urban Innovation Symposium Sponsors

Planned with the help of our 2020 Urban Innovation Symposium Committee

Alex Koerner, Symposium Co-Coordinator

Abby Ebelherr

Chelsie Coren

Yaz Tadross, Symposium Co-Coordinator

Anish Tailor

Hunter Gillaspie

Janet Smith, Symposium Faculty Sponsor Laura Kenney

2013 Symposium
2012 Symposium
2011 Symposium