Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Academic Partnership Between Illinois Institute Of Technology and Politecnico Di Milano University

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced a new partnership between Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design (IIT-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.

“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.

“At the IIT 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.”

“The design schools at Politecnico and IIT have strong roots and tradition in design, and at the same time have always been able to evolve and to lead the exploration of new frontiers of design- from system design to service design, from strategic design to design for social innovation,” Polimi-Design Dean Luisa Collina said. “This shared ability to combine the tangible with the intangible are particularly relevant for the future development of both Milano and Chicago.”

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.

Additionally, the partnership will further the advancement of learning across the curriculum and research activity through visits by faculty from one university to the other for the purpose of engaging in research and education. It will also facilitate the admission of qualified students from one university to the other for the purpose of enrolling in courses, degree programs, and certificate programs; or participating in research projects.

The agreement is designed to foster the exchange of academic publications and scholarly information, support the exchange of students at Master or Doctoral level and explore the feasibility of future double degrees at both levels.

The MOU was signed during the last stop of the Mayor’s official visits to Berlin, London and Milan. During the visits he has promoted Chicago’s companies on a global stage and worked to increase innovation collaboration between the cities, and establish new higher education partnerships. Mayor Emanuel has also been meeting with the mayor of each city and discussing ways to strengthen our partnerships. While in London, Mayor Emanuel was joined by a delegation of Chicago companies.