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Making the Grade: How water rates can improve our marks

Flickr user Alex Cheek (cc)

Water main breaks happened in record numbers across the region this winter demonstrating the lack of resiliency of our water infrastructure systems.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released their 2014 Infrastructure Report Card for Illinois. While slight improvements were made in some areas since the last report card came out in 2010, the state has a long way to go. The report assigned Illinois’ drinking water infrastructure a C- and wastewater infrastructure a D+. The organization estimates that the state will need to invest $19 billion into drinking water systems and $17.5 billion into wastewater systems over the next 20 years to replace aging systems and create adequate capacity to accommodate population shifts. The economic and public health of the region depends upon having resilient, sustainable water infrastructure. We all know that the state of our infrastructure is largely unacceptable—think back…

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Secretary Foxx dedicated to a transportation system that works

Flickr user Michael Salisbury (cc).

A Chicago subway tunnel. Chicago's Red Line could receive a big upgrade thanks to a federal Core Capacity grant.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Anthony Foxx, who became the U.S. Secretary of Transportation last year and was previously mayor of Charlotte, N.C. Foxx emphasized to me that our national transportation system suffers from a dire lack of investment, noting that funding “Is going to fall short of the mark in terms of meeting every single need that’s out there.” As mayor, Foxx was a major proponent of investing in improved transportation in his home town, supporting the construction of a new streetcar line through Charlotte’s downtown and a 9.3-mile light rail extension linking the business district with the city’s largest university. This month, Foxx has been touring the South to emphasize the importance of investing in our transportation…

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Grove Apartments Receives Illinois Housing Campion Award

Interfaith Housing Development Corporation

Grove Apartments was named as a 2014 Affordable Housing Champion because it provides affordable living in a diverse community with access to supportive services, transit and job centers.

Last night, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation’s Grove Apartments received the 2014 Affordable Housing Champion Award for Metropolitan Chicago. The award was announced at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing, sponsored by Gov. Pat Quinn, Ill. Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and Ill. Housing Council, to a welcoming audience of developers, advocates and policymakers. Grove Apartments, a development supported in part through MPC’s Regional Housing Initiative (RHI) rental assistance subsidies, is located in the transit-rich, thriving and diverse Village of Oak Park. Formerly a long-vacant Comcast building, this attractive adaptive reuse development is now home to 51 low-income households, with many accessible units for persons with…

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Kellogg Real Estate Lab recommends a hotel for Chicago Union Station

Under the supervision of Professor Therese McGuire, a group of students from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management spent the 2014 winter quarter examining the potential of repurposing of Chicago Union Station’s headhouse as a way to revitalize the surrounding area. The students—Evan Dadosky, Leonardo Fernandes, Matthew Klein, Kristopher Lowes, Jennifer Nichols, and Sean O’Grady—presented their findings and recommendations before staff and members of the Metropolitan Planning Council and World Business Chicago on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Another student, Aaron Toppston, participated fully in the lab class during the first half of the quarter. Professor McGuire’s lab students recommend converting the vacant office space above Union…

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Air Quality Awareness Week is April 28-May 4

Illinois Partners for Clean Air

Breathe Easy Man is Illinois' official Clean Air superhero.

To celebrate Earth Month, MPC’s staff will participate in Air Quality Awareness Week Monday, April 28, through Friday, May 4. The week’s sponsors—the Illinois Partners for Clean Air, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to improving air quality through voluntary actions, and the U.S. Environmental Protection—have planned a full slate of transportation-related action days, which individuals, businesses and organizations can partake in to help reduce air pollution. As a member of the Partners for Clean Air Steering Committee—and as an organization that, through projects such as the Commute Options pilot, works to improve regional transportation options so that people don’t have to drive everywhere they go—MPC is encouraging staff and partners to…

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The Connector is MPC's blog, written primarily by MPC staff members, with occasional guest posts from volunteers and partners. 


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Helping create competitive, equitable, and sustainable communities

For 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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