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Great Cities Institute at University of Illinois at Chicago

  /    /  Great Cities Institute at University of Illinois at Chicago

As part of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), the Great Cities Institute (GCI) is a research hub, incubator and convener, whose mission is to sponsor research, service and educational programs aimed at improving the quality of life of people living in Chicago, its metropolitan region, and other great cities of the world.

In carrying out its work the Institute engages closely with government institutions, businesses and their membership organizations, foundations and grant-making agencies, and organizations devoted to the social, cultural, and economic vitality of cities, local communities and neighborhoods. It serves as a research laboratory and meeting place for scholars, policymakers, and citizens who share an interest in finding answers to the question, “What can cities and regions do to make themselves into great places?”


We have worked extensively with GCI since 2013, providing a range of strategic consulting services. Our work has included initial strategic planning, positioning, and messaging for the overall Institute; community introductions for GCI leadership; concept, design and copy for its website; assistance in concept, design and promotion of key programming and events; community relations; creation of its GCI Advisors; and strategic business development that has led to new partnerships and release of research that engendered significant media relations coverage from the New York Times to local coverage in key media outlets from The Chicago Tribune to Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago Sun-Times.

November 2014 —Thinkinc. provided strategic media relations consulting services to generate awareness and media interest for the program, “City on the Make: Race & Inequality in America,” a part of its Poverty to Prosperity Lecture Series.

Sponsored by GCI in partnership with UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy this high-level panel featured Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

(View Program Page | Media Alert)

December 2013 “ Thinkinc. provided strategic media relations consulting services to generate awareness and media interest for “The Future of RTA and Regional Transportation Planning” as the conclusion to GCI’s 2013 REAL TIME CHICAGO lecture series. The panel discussion focused on metropolitan transportation planning and governing issues impacting the quality of life of cities and communities.

Sponsored by GCI in partnership with UIC Urban Transportation Center (UTC) this high-level panel also included representatives from Metropolis Strategies, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), and Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC).

(View Program Page | Download Media Kit)

October 2013 “ Thinkinc. orchestrated media relations to generate awareness about a special lecture at Great Cities Institute (GCI) presented by Troy Duster, a nationally recognized civil rights scholar and Chancellor’s Professor at the Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley and Emeritus Silver Professor of Sociology, New York University.

Prior to the lecture, Thinkinc. worked with GCI and UIC leadership to develop a list of key media outlets for outreach. Thinkinc. interviewed Dr. Duster to gain insight into the content of his presentation, its relevancy and desired impact. Thinkinc. then created and disseminated press collateral “ including a Media Alert and Press Release, building on Dr. Duster’s legacy as the grandson of social activist Ida B. Wells, Thinkinc. and effectively articulating the message from his presentation that engaged learning for youth and young adults is necessary to bring about civic engagement.

Thinkinc. conducted targeted Chicago media outreach, resulting in local media attention online and on-air. Specifically, Thinkinc. arranged and facilitated an interview with radio host, Cliff Kelley of WVON on the “The Cliff Kelley Show” as well as an interview with Matthew Kovac of The Chicago Reporter.

(View Program Page | Download Media Kit)