Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a new partnership between Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design (ID) and Politecnico di Milano University’s School of Design (Polimi-Design) that will increase international academic cooperation and drive research on the role of design as agent of development and transformation for urban communities and a sustainable economy. The agreement was signed during the Mayor’s official visit to Milan, which followed stops in Berlin and London. IIT provost Frances Bronet, Institute of Design dean Denis Weil, and associate professor Laura Forlano represented the school at the signing. Professor Laura Forlano will lead the first year project and focus on growing the local manufacturing ecosystem.

“This partnership will keep Chicago and Milan at the global forefront of the search for sustainable solutions for urban challenges,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Together, our cooperation can develop and deploy designs for 21st century global cities.”

The partnership is through a Memorandum of Understanding signed today by IIT and Politecnico. Through the agreement the universities will work together to plan and develop research activities focused on the role of design as agent of development and transformation for new urban communities and sustainable economy – from commerce, to industry and advanced services. The partnership will be supported by the mayor’s offices of Chicago and Milan as well as key civic organizations and institutions from each city.

“At the Institute of Design we focus on using design to help address global complex challenges with the goal of enriching the human experience,” IIT Institute of Design Dean Denis Weil said. “This  partnership will bring together two of the world’s premier design schools to offer new ways of thinking and new system-level solution concepts for urban challenges and opportunities using the two cities as learning platforms.  I am grateful to our colleagues at Polimi-Design and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for their support and leadership in making this collaboration possible.”

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