Make No Little Plans – and, don’t put them on a shelf!

Ever wonder what happens after a planning process concludes? If you’re in Chicago, you’ll now be able to see the results of a nearly year-long research project in which community and issue-area plans dating from 2000 to the present were integrated with existing assets, demographic information and accomplishments related to the plans. PLACE is proud to have been one of the project partners, hired by the Metropolitan Planning Council to review and summarize the community-based plans and reach out to the communities for their input and feedback on accomplishments and future priorities. This watershed activity signals great commitment to not only planning in the Chicago area, but to translating those efforts and recommendations into real results.

As Michael Davidson, Senior Program Officer in Sustainable Development at The Chicago Community Trust, who spearheaded this project said, “Our goal as a working committee was to create a citywide planning framework to guide investments in the built environment. I think we’ve done that. If put into practice, the framework would mean every neighborhood stands to benefit from long-range thinking. As we all know, there are sections of the city for which few plans have been completed.  In these areas, it can be more difficult to make thoughtful decisions about the type of development that should occur and where, set priorities and timelines for that development, secure resources to pay for it, and garner community support for it.  I am hopeful that the Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 planning framework can catalyze progress in these areas.”

The Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 materials can be found here: http://www.cct.org/CN2015

There will be mistakes and omissions. A project of this size, with the limited budget it had, is bound to have errors. Hopefully, this project is the beginning of a new era in planning in the City of Chicago, and anticipated future versions of this work will address any mistakes and continue to reflect the many accomplishments that community groups, chambers of commerce and dedicated citizens are making throughout Chicago every day of every year.

We want to give special thanks and acknowledgement to the project partners. First, a personal thank you to Marisa Novara at Metropolitan Planning Council, for being the best project partner ever! LISC Chicago and Teska Associates did a yeoman’s job of bringing together stakeholders from each of the 16 city areas to discuss and map assets. Hats off to Patrick Barry, writer extraordinaire, for pulling together the asset maps and current community information in a way that makes for easy reading. The Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University was charged with collecting data that will, hopefully, be used in the future by the City of Chicago when creating area guides that assist the Dept. of Planning and Development in making effective and impactful investment and development decisions moving forward. Finally, thank you to the City of Chicago’s Dept. of Planning and Development and Deputy Commissioner Brad McConnell, for his commitment to seeing this project to completion, and to Mike Davidson and The Chicago Community Trust, for believing in and funding this worthwhile and important endeavor.