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MPC ramps up regional planning work plan in 2008

Building off of nearly a decade of achievements by the Campaign for Sensible Growth, the Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2008 Policy Agenda, Opportunity Knocks , articulates a fresh focus on the variables that create sustainability and a better quality of life in individual communities and on a regional scale. Like MPC, the Campaign expertly combined hands-on technical assistance with sound planning and development policy, and built consensus among seemingly disparate interests. Among MPC’s top priority projects in 2008 are supporting the newly formed Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) as it takes regional planning to the next level in northeastern Illinois; working with Openlands, another Campaign partner, to inform the state’s first regional water supply planning initiative; and conducting research on innovative, lasting and practical solutions to our region’s traffic gridlock and ailing transportation systems.

Michael Davidson , manager of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, has joined MPC’s staff as manager of planning, strengthening the organization’s capacity to promote and implement sensible growth practices around the region. While at the helm of the Campaign, Davidson helped secure new sensible growth tools in Illinois, focused on building capacity and support for CMAP, and generated valuable guides for decision-makers, such as Retail 1-2-3 , produced in partnership with the International Council of Shopping Centers.

MPC’s 2008 Policy Agenda reinforces a strong organizational tradition of advocating for state leadership on planning – leadership that can take many forms. For example, MPC continues to push for state funding of the Local Planning Technical Assistance Act to support disinvested and fast-growing communities that do comprehensive planning. We also will continue to advocate for resources for the Green Neighborhoods Award Act, which provides incentives for developments that meet the certification standards of LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND ) . And our planning efforts extend well beyond Springfield . MPC leverages the skills of an expert staff, talented volunteers, sound research, and expanded GIS and data analysis capacity — in city council chambers and the boardrooms of our regional land-use and transportation agencies — so the people of metropolitan Chicago can live, work, and play in thoughtfully planned communities. Our work plan is dynamic, with projects that run the gamut — from helping to implement cohesive development around transit stops to creating places of lasting value though a partnership with The Project for Public Spaces. MPC is also hands-on through its Community Building Initiative (CBI) that includes projects as varied as corridor planning along the Calumet River in the south suburbs and Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) projects in the north suburbs, both of which involve intergovernmental coordination. Whether an initiative is policy-driven like LEED-ND or event driven — like legacy planning for the 2016 Olympics bid — MPC is ready to seize a good planning opportunity.

According to Davidson, “Sensible growth is dynamic. It is both a technical application and a theoretical construct. It covers nearly every aspect of modern life - from the economy to the environment to our health and well-being. It requires grass-roots support and top-level leadership.” In 1998, the coalition partners created the Campaign for Sensible Growth to build awareness of and support for coordinated planning and investment. Despite impressive achievements on sensible growth public education, policy advocacy, and technical assistance, the ideal of regional sustainability remains elusive. MPC will continue to be a champion of coordinated, sustainable development that provides equity of opportunity for all residents of the region.

Read about the Campaign's History of Success or browse the Campaign’s many publications on MPC’s Web site .

To learn how you can become involved with MPC’s sensible growth work, please contact Michael Davidson , manager of planning, at (312) 863-6009 or mdavidson@metroplanning.org .

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For more than 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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