What do Twinkies, skyscrapers, House music, and the Model T have in common? These (in)famous cultural phenomena all hail from the Midwest. At one time, the region was disregarded as "flyover country" by jetting-setting East and West Coast-types, but these days, the nation's Heartland is regarding itself with a new sense of pride.
Detroit's auto industry is slowly speeding toward recovery. Kansas City's fierce foodie culture is helping it reclaim its status as "Paris of the Plains." And inspiring Chicago artists/urban-renewal impresarios like Theaster Gates are breathing new life into long-neglected neighborhoods.
As IDEO's official Midwest outpost, designers in our Chicago studio wanted to mark this "it moment" in the region's history with a series of talks exploring its past, present, and—as we see it—very bright future. We humbly call these prognostications about automobility, food, urban infrastructure, agri-tech, water, data, and more, "The Future of the Midwest."
As Midwesterners, we're said to be plainspoken pragmatists. But as designers, we can't help but be outspoken optimists.
But don't just take my word for it, hear what my fellow "ChIDEO" designers have to say.
A series of provocations and prognostications on our beloved Midwest by IDEO Chicago.