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September 2011 Blog posts

The American Jobs Act: a Bridge to Somewhere!

MPC Research Assistant Kevin Cooper-Fenske authored this post. Perhaps with the combination of the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s August jobs report showing no change in the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, and the tremors from last month’s Virginia Earthquake, Washington will finally give our nation’s failing infrastructure the attention it desperately needs, and our economy the confidence necessary for long-term growth. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a whopping “D” all the way back in 2009. Since then, Congress had passed seven stop-gap funding extensions to the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), without creating a long-term transportation solution. As the last…

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A walk in the park: how Chicago celebrated PARK(ing) Day 2011

PARK(ing) Day participants celebrate by turning gray to green! Positioned right in front of Southport Café, the park in Lakeview enabled customers to dine and socialize in a lively and aesthetically pleasing outdoor environment.

MPC Research Assistant Jason Brown authored this post. Pictures by MPC Research Assistant Kirsten Westergren. Chicago’s skies provided little incentive to get outside for PARK(ing) Day, but ready and raring to advocate for green public space, organizations around Chicago were out on the street transforming everyday asphalt into creative temporary parks – and we were there to hear what these advocates had to say! As promised in our PARK(ing) Day intro post, we celebrated the day in Chicago by adventuring to a handful of temporary parks that sprouted up in parking spots the across the city. Our first stop was to Buttercup Park around 9 a.m.; unfortunately, it must have been too early for the Buttercup crowd because there was no sign of them! A little discouraged by our first…

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'Under these circumstances, we cannot be divided'

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the MPC Board of Governors and Executive Advisors for a dialogue on how the region's civic and business communities can support the mayor’s key priorities, including strengthening the city’s economy, infrastructure, and quality of life. Mayor Emanuel recognized the deep challenges facing Chicago, chief among them the need to create jobs, tackle the ever-growing backlog of capital infrastructure maintenance, and grow the economy in the face of a shrinking budget. Daunting, yes, but the mayor repeated what has become one of his mantras: “Never allow a good crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you might never have done.” He highlighted several key strategies, including supporting…

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Open data opens doors to community development

Data is just a geeky word for information – and information is power, especially when individuals and organizations figure out how to use it to evaluate, discuss, and address the trends, positive or negative, in their communities. So it’s welcome news that metropolitan Chicago is freshly awash in “open data,” i.e., information once unavailable to the average resident now at the public’s fingertips on sites such as the City of Chicago’s Data Portal and Cook County’s newly launched “Open Data” web site. But what to do with all these facts and figures? The Metro Chicago Information Center’s Apps for Metro Chicago (A4MC) contest, now in its Community round, exemplifies what can happen when governments open the door on their data.…

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The House FY 12 T-HUD bill by the numbers

This post originally appeared on National Housing Conference's (NHC) web site. Read more from NHC by visiting the Open House blog. Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee marked-up its fiscal year 2012 Transportation and Housing (T-HUD) budget, following a markup by the THUD Subcommittee on September 20th. The bill includes $55.3 billion for both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), $100 million less than enacted in FY 2011. The House FY 12 THUD bill provided $55.1 billion for these two agencies, which passed the House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee on September 8. There was one manager’s amendment that passed during the committee mark-up but as of this posting details have not been released. As with the House FY 12…

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