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2010 Blog posts

Navigating the Infrastructure Replacement Era

It's no secret that our nation's hard infrastrcuture—roads, rails, bridges, and pipes included—is aging, and with that comes daily inefficiency and occasional catastrophe. This is certainly true for our drinking water and wastewater systems. Water mains installed in the 1870s are just now being replaced. Of course, due to shoddy materials, pipes installed in the 1970s are also being replaced. If you ever want some interesting reading, check out the City of Chicago Dept. of Water Management's web site. At the bottom there is a list of current or recent repair projects, each giving the age of the pipes being replaced, as well as some fun facts about what was going on in the world when that stretch of pipe was originally laid. For instance, in 1900, when a water main was…

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Right as rain: committing to water reuse

On the same day MPC registered its commitment to sustainable freshwater policies and practices by signing on to the Johnson Foundation's Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges (I encourage you to do the same), we also partnered with Openlands to hold our final roundtable of 2010, "Right as Rain: Advancing Safe, Sustainable Water Reuse." While the timing was a coincidence, the thematic overlap was not. Among other things, Charting New Waters recommends context-sensitive, co-beneficial, and scientifically sound solutions to protecting our limited freshwater. All of those are borne out in water reuse. The benefits of harvesting rain, air conditioning condensate, grey water, or a host of other varieties of non-potable water, and reusing it for…

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Sowing Placemaking seeds in the Bronzeville Community Garden™

For several years, MPC has provided leadership in Chicago to promote and implement Placemaking, a multifaceted approach to developing public spaces. Placemaking involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in the neighborhood to discover core needs and aspirations, and utilizing the resulitng insights to create welcoming "community places." As a MPC board member, I am proud to have been able to help facilitate this in my own neighborhood by working with a volunteer team of residents and variety of organizations to develop the Bronzeville Community Garden™, located at the corner of 51st St. and Calumet Ave. The healthy principles of Placemaking, which transform public spaces into active community places are carried through in what used…

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Employer-Assisted Housing featured at Neighborworks Training Institute

This post was written by Holly Moskerintz, Community & Political Affairs Representative, National Association of Realtors®. As manager of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) class and EAH initiatives, I have begun reaching out to nonprofit housing organizations, human resources managers, city officials, and other potential partners to educate them about EAH. I discovered last week that a great place to find nonprofit housing organizations is at the NeighborWorks Training Institute, a week-long training for affordable housing practitioners. I was given the opportunity to organize a workshop for the Institute on EAH, not only to introduce participants to EAH but also to show them how it can unlock new markets. Joining me on the panel…

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'Next economy' requires public-private sector alignment, intentional investments

Image courtesy of the Brookings Institution

This map shows the 50 U.S. metros analyzed for the Brookings Institution's Global MetroMonitor.

In December, I often get so bogged down in holiday to-do lists and year-end deadlines that the New Year – and its fresh ideas and resolve to do better – can seem far off in the distance. But at last week’s “Global Metro Summit: Delivering the Next Economy,” hosted at the University of Illinois Chicago, I received a fresh injection of inspiration, thanks to stellar keynote addresses, panel discussions, and conversations, presented by the Brookings Institution, London School of Economics, Alfred Herrhausen Society, and Time magazine. The conference focused on how to get to the “next economy,” defined by Bruce Katz, founding director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, as metropolitan-based, innovation-fueled, export-driven, and…

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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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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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