I got a suggestion to do more open discussion threads, so thought I’d try this one out. I’d love to have your contributions on things you think are truly world class about Chicago. That is, things that are either arguably the best in the world, or reasonably competitive with the best the world has to offer. I’ll start with a few examples of my own:
- Music scene. Chicago’s indie rock community, record labels, and performance venues have long been ranked among the world’s best.
- Live theater. Beyond Broadway type shows, Chicago has one of the world’s most robust theater scenes for sure.
- Food. Lots of cities have great food scenes these days. I don’t think you can argue Chicago is #1 in the world or anything, but it certainly has nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Architecture. While this is no longer the Chicago of Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Daniel Burnham, the city is still a major international architectural design hub, with important specialties like supertall skyscraper design.
- Orchestra. The Chicago Symphony is one of the world’s top orchestras.
- Derivatives. Chicago is still the world’s largest futures market as far as I know. This by itself makes Chicago a leading global financial center.
What are your ideas? Please try to be honest and realistic. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with (or how you disagree with my nominations). If you’d rather just share particular Chicago strengths or unique attributes, feel free and please note them as such.
While I said cities shouldn’t fall into an asset trap, certainly identifying your strengths and leveraging what you have are an important part of civic development. I am hoping we can brainstorm a good list of these for Chicago.