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Research shows Chicago has become more segregated by income over time with growing pockets of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. This special hour-long event tackles the challenges of rebuilding the middle class as we mount recoveries in our cities.

$25 public
$20 for CAC members
Zoom Virtual Event (details to come)


America’s middle class has long been the bedrock upon which rests the social and economic well-being of cities. Today, this foundation is eroding with unprecedented speed. Our expert panel reveals public and private sector actions and innovative thinking around housing and community-centered planning and development that can make a real difference on the road to inclusive urban regeneration. At the same time, there are risks of dampening investment or inducing other unintended consequences.

This program is part of the CAC’s annual series, What’s Next? Designing the Future City, exploring how business, design and government leaders can unite to make great cities. Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, moderates our panel discussion. Schuetz is at the forefront of research into urban economics and housing policy and has written extensively on these topics for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and more.

Want to explore further? Watch highlights from the first What’s Next? Forum featuring former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

What's Next? Designing the Future City is generously supported by Sandra Helton and Norman Edelson.

Jenny Schuetz Moderator: Jenny Schuetz
Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program
Brookings Institution
Economist and housing policy expert focused on affordability, urban land use and neighborhood change.

Gary Handel Panelist: Gary Handel
Founder & Managing Partner
Handel Architects
NYC architect and urban designer pursuing sustainable building strategies and positive social impact.

Ronald LadellPanelist: Ronald Ladell
Senior Vice President
Avalon Bay Communities
An authority on real estate law and development and head of Avalon Bay’s New Jersey operations.

Mayor Quinton LucasPanelist: Quinton Lucas
Kansas City, MO
55th mayor of Kansas City focused on bridging economic and racial divides for a more vibrant and inclusive city.


Dr. Rachel WeberPanelist: Dr. Rachel Weber
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Urban Planning and Policy Department
University of Illinois at Chicago
Leading scholar and author in the overlapping fields of public finance, economic development, real estate and urban policy.