Mayor, other city leaders in Chicago for 'Doable City' forum

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and a group of other city leaders are returning Thursday from a trip to Chicago to gather ideas about making Columbus a more vibrant and livable city.

The trip, which was funded completely by a grant from the Knight Foundation, was to attend the inaugural “8-80 Cities Forum: The Doable City,” according to a release from the forum.

The forum’s goal is to “gather civic leaders from across the country in Chicago to discuss ways to make cities more vibrant places where people can walk, bike, access transit and enjoy parks and other public spaces,” the release states.

Tomlinson said the trip is an opportunity to see best practices and the trials and errors of other cities.

“It gives us a chance to see what is possible and how we can reduce the risk of false starts,” she said. “In the end, we want every cent of taxpayer money to be spent on successful investments in our community that have a high return on quality of life."

Tomlinson was joined by Community Foundation Executive Director Betsy Covington, Superior Court Judge Bill Rumer; attorney Ken Henson; architect Neil Clark; Midtown Inc. Executive Director Anne King, Uptown Columbus CEO Richard Bishop and Media, Marketing and More President Marquette McKnight. Many of the attendees were joined by their spouses.

The forum included speakers such as Charles Montgomery, author of “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design”; Dan Burden, named by Time magazine as one of the six most important civic innovators in the world (2001); Edward Uhlir, executive director of Chicago’s Millennium Park; Gia Biagi, current chief of staff of the Chicago Park District; Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and author of “Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet”; and Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.

8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada, dedicated to “engaging people and communities across multiple sectors to inspire the creation of cities that are easily accessible, safe and enjoyable for all,” according to its website.