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K-State Today

February 11, 2021

Gia Biagi to present as part of APDesign Ekdahl Lecture Series

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Gia Biagi

Gia Biagi, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, will present "Building Blocks" as part of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design's 2020-2021 Ekdahl Lecture Series at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15. The lecture is partially funded by the K-State Student Governing Association fine arts fee, along with sustained support from the Ekdahl family. This event is presented virtually and is free and open to the public.

Biagi, an urban planner and designer with experience in the private and public sectors was appointed commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot in December 2019. The mayor charged Biagi with implementing a vision for a transportation system that prioritizes equity and mobility and works to lower the economic and environmental burden of transportation on residents and communities, especially for people in poverty and people with disabilities.

As commissioner of CDOT, she oversees a department responsible for Chicago's roadways and bridges, sidewalks and bike lanes, the citywide bike share system, traffic signals and signage, streetlights, the permitting of activities in the public right-of-way, and policies focused on complete streets, climate adaptation and new mobility.

Before answering Mayor Lightfoot's call to return to public service, Biagi was a principal at Studio Gang Architects, one of Chicago and the world's leading architecture and urban design firms led by renowned architect Jeanne Gang. At Studio Gang, Biagi developed and led the Urbanism + Civic Impact practice that specialized in urban design, planning and strategy. The work centered on how to move toward equity, mutuality and positive change in cities by working with a range of partners including community-based organizations, cultural institutions, developers, government, and other public and private groups and individuals.

Before joining Studio Gang, Biagi spent more than a decade in public service as a planner for the city of Chicago, with roles that included chief of staff for the Chicago Park District, as well as with the Department of Planning and Development. Much of her work for the city focused on neighborhood revitalization through planning, programs, policies and capital investments in our park and recreation system, a network that touches nearly every corner of the city.

Biagi attended the University of Michigan for her Bachelor of Arts and has a master's in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

View a full listing of the 2020-2021 Ekdahl Lectures and virtual links.

The Oscar S. Ekdahl Distinguished Lecture Series in Architecture and Design brings the finest professionals in the design and planning disciplines to APDesign and the K-State community. These individuals are selected to avail faculty, staff, students and regional professionals to the potency of design and planning in addressing the issues we face as a global society. The series honors Oscar Ekdahl who received his Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University in 1933 and was a founding partner in Ekdahl, Davis, Depew, Persson Architects PA in Topeka.