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    Here's how Lightfoot aims to reboot Chicago's economy

    In an outline of her 10-year strategy to remake the city's economy and rebuild its population to 3?million,?the mayor focuses on seven industry clusters.

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
    Stephen J. Serio



    Declaring Chicago needs to “chart an entirely new” development path if it is to succeed, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is giving a preview of her long-term plan to jolt new life into segments of the Chicago economy that have been lagging and to rebuild the city’s population.

    In a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago tonight, the mayor identified three industry clusters in which the city already is doing well, as well as four others that have strong growth potential. All will receive special planning assistance and financial and other help, though many details are yet to come. You can read the text of the speech below.

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    79彩票注册网址What’s interesting is that the seven clusters include a mix of high-education sectors in which advanced degrees almost always are needed and other businesses that are open to those who may lack a college education but are otherwise qualified. All were designed to be resilient in the face of a fast-changing economy, officials said.

    In the first category—which the city is calling foundational clusters—are industrials and manufacturing, food processing and manufacturing, and professional and corporate services, areas in which the city traditionally has had a solid presence both downtown and in outlying neighborhoods.

    79彩票注册网址Targeted as growth clusters are transportation and logistics; technology, both pure services such as cloud computing and applications like advanced manufacturing; tourism and hospitality; and health care and life sciences.

    Those are similar to clusters laid out recently by Gov. J.B. Pritzker79彩票注册网址 with his recent statewide development plan, and that’s intentional, because the two can build off each other, said city Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar in a phone briefing.

    Nor does the emerging plan amount to a local version of an industrial selection policy, Mayekar added. “We’re not picking winners and losers. We’re building areas of strength,” much like other cities have.

    79彩票注册网址In her speech Lightfoot told the black-tie dinner crowd that Chicago has not had an actual land-use policy guiding what should go where since 1966.

    79彩票注册网址“That means that where and how development happens is largely left to the vagaries of developers and aldermen,” she said, according to her prepared remarks. “And as a consequence, we have seen over time, communities south of Roosevelt Road and west of Ashland slowly but decidedly wither on the vine.”

    The result is violence, shortened life expectancy and population loss, she continued. “What we need now is to focus on how we move forward, together, as a city of inclusive growth and prosperity.” To do that, she said, the city must enact ethical reform so people trust government, make economic growth inclusive, promote education and health services for all and achieve full structural balance in its budget.

    If that’s done, and the economic development plan succeeds, Chicago can rebuild its population back above 3 million people, she said. The current population of the city is estimated at about 2.7 million.

    Lightfoot’s emphasis on transportation/logistics and some other sectors was perhaps expected, given the ongoing $8.5 billion terminal expansion project at O’Hare International Airport. But the focus on tech may surprise some.

    79彩票注册网址"The tech industry is the fastest-growing sector in Chicago’s economy. Meanwhile, Chicago has one of the largest pools of tech talent in the nation,” she said. “We will continue to build this sector out in every direction.”

    79彩票注册网址Details of how this all will be implemented are still a work in progress. Mayekar said stakeholders in each of the seven industry clusters will roll out specific plans by the second quarter of next year, plans that will include city help with workforce development, planning, expedited permitting, marketing and perhaps unspecified financial incentives.

    79彩票注册网址In the speech, she laid out neither the details of any incentives nor how the initiative will be funded and at what cost.

    of intense capital spending on infrastructure in 10 neighborhood corridors as a guide for what will happen.

    79彩票注册网址“And this isn't just about philanthropy,” she said. “There is business opportunity in our neighborhoods. In the Austin neighborhood on Chicago's West Side, 80 percent of retail spending—estimated at nearly $200 million annually—leaks to the neighboring suburbs.”

    There’s more to come, but it’s a start. And here's what former Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed79彩票注册网址 when he unveiled development plan in 2012.

    The year since Chicago has had a land-use policy has been corrected in this updated story.

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