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October 2011 Blog posts

Employers can help employees purchase, rent new homes created by NSP Chicago

To increase the pace of homes in Chicago exiting foreclosure and help stabilize neighborhoods, MPC is encouraging Chicago employers to start and/or link employer-assisted housing programs to the City of Chicago’s foreclosure revitalization strategy and affordable housing resources. Foreclosures have devastated many Chicago neighborhoods by creating vacant and blighted parcels that drag down overall property values. The City is responding through a targeted redevelopment strategy funded by the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was created in 2008 to tackle foreclosures and abandonments across the country. Chicago received $55 million in the first funding round of NSP, $98 million in the second round, and an additional $15.9 million in September 2010, for a…

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We’ve run out of money. It’s time to start thinking.

A complete audio recording of this event is available for listening. Fifty-five years ago President Eisenhower signed the first federal transportation bill into law, spurring an unprecedented era of transportation construction. Today, most of that infrastructure has reached beyond its useful life, and returning it to a state of good repair – much less expanding it to serve a growing population and new economic realities – will require hundreds of billions of dollars. What’s more, as consumers continue to choose fuel-efficient vehicles over gas guzzlers, less frequent trips to the pump mean even fewer dollars to replenish the nation’s bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. To fight gridlock and keep our cities and regions competitive, the U.S. needs a new approach to…

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Mi Parque goes all the way!

From left: Ji Lucas, Marisa Novara of MPC, Sheila Miguez, Pallavi Anderson, Stephen Newell of IBM, Shauna Martin, Esperanza Ayala, Kim Wasserman and Silvana Favaretto

Chicago gets props for being a city that thought way ahead about its green space: When the neighborhoods that are now Humboldt Park, Garfield Park and North Lawndale were still peripheral, city planners engaged the likes of Jens Jensen to create the West Side’s great green string of majestic parks and boulevards. Burnham’s “forever open, clear and free” lakefront is a shining testament to the power of public space for creating a high quality of life. But, as recently chronicled in the Chicago Tribune, all 50 wards do not enjoy this green space bounty. In fact, the community of South Lawndale – more commonly known as Little Village – contains the least green space per capita of any Chicago neighborhood. This is part of what got us so excited about the…

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It's the end of Chicago's water rates as we know them, and I feel fine

Embedded within the Emanuel Administration's proposed 2012 Budget is set of rate increases that will bring the price we pay for water services much closer to the actual cost of providing them. Not surprisingly, when revenues are less than costs, you either have to borrow money from somewhere else or defer maintenance and system improvements. Chicago has had to do some of both, and the result is an under-performing infrastructure system and a regional populace (remember, Chicago treats and pumps water to dozens upon dozens of suburban communities) that undervalues the services they rely on. So the proposed rate increases — assuming the new revenue is used to reinvest in our water system — are both justified and overdue. Here are some good ol' hard truths when it comes to…

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Green Tech U: Chicago does water harvesting!

Starting in October, MPC's Josh Ellis will be working toward two certificates through the Chicago Center for Green Technology’s Green Tech U program. Green Tech U’s free workshops and seminars provide anyone with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of green technology, sustainability, and public policy, meet people with similar interests, and expand their personal and professional networks. View the complete Fall 2011 brochure or just view the Fall 2011 Green Tech U seminar listing. In this blog series, Josh will recap his experiences as they relate to MPC's mission and work. Several weeks ago I decided that with fall and winter looming (despite all evidence to the contrary the last week or so), I would spend a handful of otherwise cold and dark evenings…

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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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