Past Event

Checking the Gauge: The Legacy and Future of Oil and Water Policy

We face a series of critical decisions about managing oil and water resources that have the potential to change our communities for better or for worse.

What critical choices will we have to make about managing oil and water resources? Join us as we examine how our perceptions and values have shaped environmental policies and planning, the choices made in Chicago’s early efforts to control its water needs, and the legacy that we want to leave for future generations.

Writers from the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, publishers of the Journal of Ordinary Thought, will open the program reading their personal stories of how these large, systematic issues affect us as individuals and communities. 

Checking the Gauge will conclude with audience polling and facilitated small group discussions on GO TO 2040, the first truly comprehensive regional plan for metropolitan Chicago.

Want to attend an upcoming GO TO 2040 workshop? Register online, by email, or call 312-386-8814. Registration is requested, but not required. If you need special accommodations or more information, please contact Joey-Lin Silberhorn at 312-386-8814 or

And visit, where you can learn more, create more scenarios, and send them to your friends via email, Facebook, or other social networking sites.


  • Carl Smith, Ph.D. – Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History, Northwestern University
  • Donald Worster, Ph.D. – Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Professor of U.S. History, Environmental Studies, University of Kansas
  • Randy Blankenhorn – Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Jennifer Hirsch, Ph.D. – Research and Operations Director, Cultural Understanding and Change, The Field Museum (moderator)

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by email at, or by calling 312.422.5580.

This event is presented in partnership with The Newberry Library, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Burnham Plan Centennial, and the Neighborhood Writing Alliance.

Lead sponsorship for All-Consuming is provided by the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company, with additional support provided by Illinois American Water.
Chicago Public Radio and Illinois Channel are the media sponsors.