Chicago, Orange or Green

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Chicago, Orange or Green?

When searching for parties to team up with, we were Googling ‘Growing Green Cities’. On the first page of the search results we found a proposal for a mechanism to boost private investments in public infrastructure by Michael Heise. Michael is Chief Economist at Allianz SE and the author of Emerging From the Euro Debt Crisis: Making the Single Currency Work.

As GGC does not yet have a normalized list of criteria for ranking cities yet, a mention of Chicago’s Infrastructure Trust triggered our interest.


Particularly a quote by Bill Clinton sparked our interest:

This is a classic example of what works in the modern world. You take business, labor, government, all the players together, and you make something together.

Bill Clinton

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The reason this quote sparked our interest is that we believe a significant player is forgotten by Clinton, a player which so often appears to be forgotten as they are very difficult to organize. This player is ‘We the People’ as most Americans would call it.

Top Down, Bottom Up

Top Down and Bottom Up are two strategies of information processing and knowledge ordering. We at GGC believe that, ultimately, the information processing should be done at the bottom, with the people who actually live in these cities we’re about. The people have, so to say, their boots on the ground and they know best what’s really going on in their cities.

Clinton appears to have a Top Down method of information gathering, including only business, labor and government, and calling them ‘all the players’. As founder of the Growing Green Cities Network, it is a mindset I’ve been confronted with before when discussing the Growing Green Cities Greenhouse with the city authorities of the Dutch city of Almere.



I personally feel that overlooking ‘We the People’ is a key player in Growing a Green City is an example of a flawed strategy. As we do not yet have a formalized list of criteria on how to determine if a city is truly a Growing Green City, I have decided to rank Chicago orange on the GGC Map.

This is however a personal feeling. I see the difficulties in getting an information network quite as large as ‘We the People’. Perhaps Clinton is simply more realistic and knows that involving only the big players in his ambitions will work better. As we speak, 7 days after founding the Growing Green Cities Network, we have yet to begin registering people so they can actually make their voice known.