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Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Launched by The Chicago Community Trust in 1990 to spark discussion and understanding on matters of vital interest to Chicago-area communities, Chicago Matters is the nation's longest-running multimedia public affairs series. Learn More

Global Visionaries, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Dr. Funmi Olopade
Tuesday, December 8, at 7 pm

Dr. Funmi Olopade is a geneticist at the University of Chicago and an expert in assessing who is most likely to develop cancer and why. Find out why Olopade believes that the place we call home is a big factor in our risk for the disease- whether we hail from the South Side of Chicago or from Nigeria.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Ali Emadi
Tuesday, November 24, at 7 pm

Professor Ali Emadi heads one of the most trailblazing research programs in the United States focusing on electric hybrid vehicles. Among the lab's creations is a plug-in Hybrid Ford F-150 conversion pickup truck. Take a look at the work of Dr. Emadi and his students, as they help pioneer the next generation of sustainable vehicles.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Cloud Computing
Tuesday, November 10, at 7 pm

An increasing number of local computer scientists have their heads in the clouds. What are "cloud computing" collaborations, and what do they mean for our region?


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Rami Nashashibi
Tuesday, October 27, at 7 pm

Through his nonprofit Inner-City Muslim Action Network, founder and executive director Rami Nashashibi strives to engage the Muslim community around progressive issues of social justice.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Chicago Matters: Regionalism by Tollway
Tuesday, October 13, at 7 pm

Could a new tollway linking Illinois and Indiana interstates ease congestion and boost the region's economy? Eddie Arruza looks at a new study that says yes.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Kerry James Marshall
Tuesday, October 6, at 7 pm

Praised for his paintings, a renowned Chicago artist goes back to the drawing board to create a comic strip.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Smart Grid Technology
Tuesday, September 29, at 7 pm

How smart is Smart Grid technology? Can it really turn Loop buildings into virtual generators of electrical power? And what does mean for residential consumers of electricity? Rich Samuels reports.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Adrian Holovaty
Tuesday, September 15, at 7 pm

We’re introduced to Adrian Holovaty, a Naperville native and Founder of, a local neighborhood web site that presents information, news, and data at the neighborhood level. The site was recently sold to MSNBC.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Canadian Oil
Tuesday, September 15, at 7 pm

The U.S. now gets more crude oil from Canada than any other country. The majority of that oil is processed here in Midwest refineries. Elizabeth Brackett tells us why some critics say the environmental costs of the heavier, dirtier Canadian crude are much too high.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Richard Sandor
Tuesday, July 21, at 7 pm

We meet the man known as the father of "carbon trading," Richard Sandor.  Sandor pioneered the world's first voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions trading system.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Water Use Planning, Tuesday, July 7, at 7 pm

Planning for the region's future water use: Rich Samuels reports on who's doing it and why.

Correspondent Rich Samuels


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Jeanne Gang
Tuesday, June 23, at 7 pm

Have you noticed the Aqua Tower, the latest 82-story addition to the Chicago skyline?  Its chief designer Jeanne Gang discusses that building and her other structures that are reshaping not only the skyline, but the way many think about architecture.

Correspondent Phil Ponce


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Soil Reuse Ordinance, Tuesday, June 9, at 7 pm

Chicago Tonight examines a new city ordinance that allows the reuse of construction soil and rubble. The Chicago Department of Environment believes the ordinance will save the taxpayers money and reduce carbon emissions, but some environmentalists believe that the debris could be contaminated with chemicals that could be harmful to the environment, as well as residents. The ordinance has created an alliance between those environmental groups and waste haulers.

Correspondent Christian Farr


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Richard Thaler
Tuesday, May 26, at 7 pm

Sometimes it just takes a little "nudge" to get people to change. Behavioral economist Richard Thaler believes these little steps can produce big results.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Wind Energy, Tuesday, May 12, at 7 pm

What role will wind energy plan in the region’s future? Right now, the industry is enjoying remarkable growth—but not without growing pains. Rich Samuels will have that story.

Correspondent: Rich Samuels


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Global Visionaries: Dr. Carla Pugh
Tuesday, April 28, at 7 pm

Dr. Carla Pugh was frustrated with the lack of hands-on training in medical school so decided to do something about it. She created simulators so medical students could hone their skills without fear of injuring patients.  Now she is the director of the Center for Advanced Surgical Education at Northwestern University where she uses innovative methods to train residents. Dr. Pugh holds a patent on the sensor and data acquisition technologies used to measure and characterize the sense of touch. Currently, more than 100 medical and nursing schools use her sensor enabled training tools.

Correspondent: Christian Farr


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Housing Deconstruction, Tuesday, April 14, at 7 pm

In this week's Chicago Matters, we‘ll look at how to preserve the environment by deconstructing homes piece-by-piece. We will speak with a contractor who takes apart old homes, so that the materials can be re-used.  Correspondent Christian Farr will also visit a newly established warehouse that stores used housing materials.  And we’ll take a closer look at a program that is teaching a new workforce how to properly deconstruct old homes.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

High Speed Rail, Tuesday, March 31, at 7 pm

Is the region on track for a high-speed rail network? Or has the train left the station? Correspondent Rich Samuels looks at where we're headed.


Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

Tuesday, March 17 at 7 pm on WTTW11

WTTW's first Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham episode spans a full hour on Chicago Tonight. Christian Farr will introduce us to the Starlight project—the "internet of the future"—and explain why its hub is located here. And Rich Samuels will look at calls to modernize the infrastructure of the Illinois Waterways system. Watch all of the segments of this special Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham episode below:







Chicago Matters: Global Visionaries 

We asked who you think is bringing change to Chicago and you responded! Meet 15 visionaries who are leading our region into the next century. 

Angela Hurlock, Executive Director, Claretian Associates

Claretian Associates develops affordable, green housing on the South-Side of Chicago.

Selected as a Visionary for: Transforming Chicago's brown fields by bringing green technology and housing to underserved communities.

Ali Emadi, Harris Perlstein Professor and Director, Electric Power and Power Electronics Center and Grainger Laboratories, Illinois Institute of Technology

Builds electric engines for buses and other forms of public transportation in order to make a big impact on emission reduction.

Selected as a Visionary for: Making Chicago into a center for hybrid technology research, development and application.

Richard Thaler, Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and Director of the Center for Decision Research, University of Chicago

Richard Thaler argues that small changes in public policy can dramatically influence individual choices.

Selected as a Visionary for: Articulating public policy based on the relationship between knowing how people think and designing environments that sway their choices.

Dr. Richard Sandor, CEO and Founder, Chicago Climate Exchange

Dr. Sandor created the world's first and North America's only voluntary and legally binding greenhouse gas emissions trading system.

Selected as a Visionary for: Creating a new way businesses factor in their global environmental impact.

Dr. Carla Pugh, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Director of the Center for Advanced Surgical Education, Northwestern University

Dr. Carla Pugh preferred hands-on learning in medical school so she invented life-like simulators to revolutionize the way surgeons are trained.

Selected as a Visionary for: Inventing learning models allowing that students to perfect surgical techniques without fear of injuring patients.

Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen, Co-founders, UrbanLab, Co-principals, Archeworks Alternative Design School, Illinois Institute of Technology

Run an architectural and design firm that specializes in modern sustainable design.

Selected as a Visionary for: Creating the sustainable city of the future, including a comprehensive vision for Chicago to recycle one hundred percent of its water usage. and

Adrian Holovaty, Founder, provides block-by-block 'hyper-local' coverage of Chicago's neighborhoods through rounding up previously-difficult-to-access information on zoning and development changes, crime stats and public health issues.

Selected as a Visionary for: Creating an innovative, game-changing approach to local news coverage in Chicago and other American cities.

Dr. Olufunmilayo (Funmi) Olopade, Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Director of the Cancer Risk Clinic, University of Chicago Medical Center

An expert in cancer risk assessment and treatment, particularly in breast cancer research and treatment.

Selected as a Visionary for: Bringing a unique inter-disciplinary and international approach to the prevention and treatment of cancer and extending high-end care to typically underserved populations at home and aboard.

Rami Nashashibi, Founder and Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

IMAN is a non-profit community organization that provides social services, fosters the arts and organizes the urban Muslim community to work for social justice.

Selected as a Visionary for: Engaging Chicago's Muslims in civic participation as well as cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue and action through a shared social justice agenda.

Mike Orlove, Senior Programs Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Chicago

Organizer and creator of a range of free cultural programming throughout Chicago, including the World Music Festival.

Selected as a Visionary for: Putting Chicago on the global map as a center for international, eclectic and cutting-edge cultural events.

Dr. Nichole Pinkard, Director of Innovation, Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago, Founder of the Digital Youth Network

The Digital Youth Network is a program to develop media literacy among middle school students on Chicago's South Side.

Selected as a Visionary for: Challenging our public education system to make digital literacy a fundamental part of the middle-school curriculum, particularly for students of color.

Maxine Brown, Associate Director, Electronic Visualization Laboratory, Co-Developer of the Starlight Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago's Starlight Project is the largest North American hub of an international fiber optic network that allows scientists to store, see and communicate visual and other cutting-edge research data in real-time.

Selected as a Visionary for: Taking our city's reputation as a communications hub into the twenty-first century by helping to build North America's largest digital hub in downtown Chicago. and

Kerry James Marshall, Artist

From massive murals to comic strips, Kerry James Marshall has achieved global recognition for his work.

Selected as a Visionary for: Portraying African-American life that is too often overlooked in art.

Jeanne Gang, Principal and founder, Studio Gang Architects

Jeanne Gang's curvy tower, Aqua, is expected to be the tallest building designed by a female-headed firm.

Selected as a Visionary for: Designing unique structures with particular attention to how people use them, the materials available and the attributes of their locations.

Gregg Brown, CEO/President, Southside Community Federal Credit Union

The credit union provides an array of financial services to Southside communities, including financial literacy programs, savings and credit opportunities and home ownership counseling.

Selected as a Visionary for: Fighting economic inequity by creating opportunities to build individual wealth and develop community investment funds.


Beyond Burnham
Now in its 19th year, Chicago's award-winning multimedia public affairs series returns in 2009 with Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham to explore how our region can thrive in a global era.

Click Here for more information about Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham

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You Matter…and we want to know what you have to say.  Join the Public Forum
Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham's Public Forum is where you can engage in discussions and information sessions around this year's topic of environmental sustainability:

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Other Series
View information from past and current Chicago Matters series:

Chicago Matters: Our Next Generation

Chicago Matters: Inside Housing

Chicago Matters: Money Talks

Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders

Chicago Matters: Growing Forward

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