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November 2010 Blog posts

New guide offers resources to assist multifamily property owners in metro Chicago

Owners of multifamily properties in the Northwest Cook County recently found a pleasant surprise in their mailboxes: Rather than a dreaded code enforcement notice, tax bill, or any other citation or invoice, they received an unprecedented invitation to discuss the long-term sustainability of their properties with municipal leaders on Nov. 17. Those who accepted the invitation – about 70 municipal leaders and owners/managers of multifamily buildings, representing more than 4,000 apartments and condominiums – learned about the regional movement to preserve multifamily properties. They also received a copy of the new Multifamily Resource Guide, a list of public and private sector resources for energy assistance, financing, preservation, tenant relations, and more. Arlington…

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MPC gives thanks this Thanksgiving

Turkey Day is upon us, and the MPC staff is looking forward to the four-day weekend. At our monthly “wine and cheese” yesterday – a fitting prelude to tomorrow’s feast – we all agreed we have many reasons to give thanks this year. Here are some highlights: In January, the Midwest was awarded almost $2.6 billion for four major high-speed rail corridors, including $1.13 billion for the Chicago-St. Louis-Kansas City corridor. This 570-mile upgrade will make the Chicago-to-St. Louis trip 30 percent faster and spark economic development and revitalization around stations. MPC has hosted D.C. officials several times this year. They in turn have inspired us to “keep up the good fight.” In April, Shelley Poticha, Director of the U.S. Dept. of…

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Employer-Assisted Housing is the featured tool on, the Center for Housing Policy's online guide to state and local housing policy, features a helpful toolkit on employer-assisted housing this month. The toolkit includes: A podcast interview with Connie Ealey, Residential Assistance Coordinator at Funding Partners for Housing Solutions, a Colorado nonprofit that runs a number of employer-assisted housing programs for partner companies and communities; Information about Delaware's Live Near Your Work program, which provides matching funds to help employees buy homes near work; PowerPoints, videos, and more from the series of Bring Workers Home workforce housing forums, held in Atlanta, Austin, Minneapolis, and Honolulu; and Many more resources, including case studies from Illinois and other states, a podcast on EAH…

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The building blocks of green neighborhoods

By Carl Knutson, Perkins & Will

Rendering of Whistler Crossing, Riverdale, Ill.

MPC Research Assistant Morgan Davis wrote this blog post. When you think of a green neighborhood, what do you envision? Parks, trees and open space? Lots of destinations within a short walk or bike ride? New types of public transportation, such as streetcars? These are the questions the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) posed to participants at Greenbuild 2010, a conference and expo dedicated to green building. Greenbuild attendees use building blocks to create a green neighborhood. In partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Fregonese Associates, and Farr and Associates, MPC adapted its Corridor Development Initiative tool for a session designed to bring to life USGBC's LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification program. After learning the key…

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‘Shrinking cities’ are redefining themselves

This week I attended “Spotlight on Shrinking Cities,” an evening panel discussion sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and others, which shined a light on the challenges facing many iconic American cities considered part of the Rust Belt. These cities lost their industrialized job base and workforce in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and today continue to struggle to turn around urban blight and abandoned neighborhoods. Panelists focused on how cities that are shrinking/transitioning/“right-sizing” — or some other more politically correct term meaning cities with smaller populations, smaller economies and perhaps smaller geographies than in the past — must find a way to bring back economic vibrancy and redefine themselves for a brighter future. …

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