Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Making the World Care About Chicago

Chicago doesn't have the 2016 games, but coming in fourth did a lot for raising the city's profile around the world.

In my travels, I've seen a number of references to Chicago in other countries.  There's a used clothing store in the Harajuku section of Tokyo called "Chicago."  There is a chain of steakhouses operating in Hong Kong, Kowloon, Singapore, and Taiwan called "Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill" with their interiors decorated in Chicago memorabilia.  And while we don't have a "Texas Embassy" restaurant like the one in London, we do have any number of pizza joints around the world trying to emulate Chicago-style deep dish.

But that's not enough.  A symposium will be held in mid-November to talk about Chicago's global reach and what can be done to raise Chicago awareness around the world.  I don't have dates and times yet, but when I do I'll post them here.

In a recent public meeting, Bob O'Neill, the head of the Grant Park Conservancy, noted that Foreign Policy magazine ranked Chicago #8 in its 2008 Global Cities Index.  You can see the article here.   I shot him an e-mail asking for more information, and he came back with a lists of links showing Chicago's rank in America.

He also sent this along:

Here are some economic facts about Chicago, some of which really surprised me.
  • Chicago has a faster growing economy than either New York or Los Angeles, at 1.9%.
  • In 2007 it had the 7th fastest growing population among US cities (not sure if this is the metro area or Chicago proper, presumably the latter).
  • 29% of downtown Chicago residents have graduate degrees (over 3 times the national average)
  • Chicago is the number one city for business investment and expansion according to Site Selection Magazine.
  • 30 Fortune-500 companies are based in the Chicago Metro, second only to New York in the USA.

Interesting stuff to chew on.  So, how would you improve Chicago's global stature?  Post you answers here.

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