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September 2010 Blog posts

News, lessons from National Housing Conference-Center for Housing Policy symposium resonate in Illinois

Well, that whet my appetite! After the first day of the National Housing Conference-Center for Housing Policy “Partners in Innovation” symposium, I don’t know which I found more encouraging: The way Shelley Poticha kicked off the conference with frank and inspiring reflections on her first year at the helm of HUD's side of the Sustainable Communities Partnership? Her response to my closing question during the follow-up discussion? U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's videotaped remarks for the conference itself? Or the range of best practices shared at various break-outs? Shelley's opening comments reminded all of us involved in community development not to be discouraged by others saying "it can't be done." When it comes to aligning housing and transportation…

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The Polish Triangle gets some air time

This post was written by Aleece Smith, MPC research assistant. Outside the Loop Radio featured the Polish Triangle last week when host Mike Stephen interviewed Wicker Park Bucktown Assistant Program Manager Eleanor Mayer about changes on the Polish Triangle. Eleanor talks about the history of the space and the goals of the Placemaking project to pick out and amplify the good qualities of the area while working to improve things the community does not like. In 2009, MPC teamed up with WPB (the Special Service Area for the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods) to transform the Polish Triangle, located at the intersection of Division Street, Ashland Avenue, and Milwaukee Avenue, into a well-used public space. More than 700 people contributed their ideas through an online network group,…

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Beautiful timelapse video shows off great Chicago places

Here's a fun Friday diversion: Take four minutes to enjoy this gorgeous Chicago timelapse video by Josh Kalven, which shows off some of Chicago's most beloved public spaces. We received some amazing videos and photos as entries in the "What Makes Your Place Great?" contest, and this is another great example of how creating a sense of place is absolutely essential to successful cities. Happy Friday!

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Putting the market to work

As I head into our Board of Governors meeting this afternoon, I’m reminded what a vast resource our board members are to our agenda. All prominent leaders in their respective industries, these individuals are committed to regional innovation and generously volunteer their time and expertise to promote a more prosperous and sustainable Chicago region. We’ll be talking today about squeezing more efficiencies from our road network. Joining for the discussion will be David Bennett, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and four mayors: Karen Darch of Barrington, Al Larson of Schaumburg, Jeff Schielke of Batavia, and Tom Weisner of Aurora. Like our board members, these influential municipal leaders and their counterparts across the region provide invaluable…

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High-speed rail: the long view

It started with a $24.8 billion price tag and was supposed to be completed in 13 years. It was heralded as a sweeping investment that would connect our country from coast to coast, improve national security, and create opportunities for economic development. In reality it took 35 years to finish, cost more than $129 billion, and was over 46,000 miles long. “It” was the national highway system, which received initial funding from President Truman before President Eisenhower completed the tab in 1956. The point of that little story is to put the current discussions around high-speed rail into context. America can ill afford not to invest in increased accessibility and opportunity. According to a new report from Illinois PIRG, Connecting the Midwest, a Midwest high-speed rail…

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