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Thinking Big

2009 marked the hundredth anniversary of Daniel Burnham’s legendary plan for the city of Chicago—the first comprehensive plan for the controlled growth of any American city, and the foundation of much of what is great about our splendid metropolis to this day. The great man’s motto, of course, was, “Make no little plans” (why bother?), the only prospects he felt worth envisioning being the grand and the mighty.

So here at the Festival we began to think: as a prelude to next year’s centennial celebrations, why not consider ambition as such—the glory (and sometimes folly) occasioned by the human pursuit of the grand gesture, the great scheme, the Big Idea, the world-transformative moment, that generative, human predilection for thinking at scale. So here we have the 2008 Festival, Thinking Big.