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From Curitiba to Chicago: A pinprick of impetus

Metropolitan Planning Council

Audience members pose with Lerner as he signs books after the event.

“Those who create are born again.” So says Jaime Lerner, renowned architect, author and former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil. Likewise, through a single gesture—a “pinprick”—cities can reinvent themselves, the author of Urban Acupuncture explained. At an Urban Think & Drink on Tuesday, Oct. 21, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) was honored to host Jaime Lerner, who, throughout his illustrious career, has gained an invaluable intuition of how a city moves and works. Lerner delivered a passionate treatise of the livable city as he instilled a room filled with architects, academics, planners, policy makers and urban enthusiasts with an overwhelming sense of efficacy. Throughout his presentation, one theme remained clear: Keep people at the center…

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The Regional Housing Initiative's 400th win!

Whistler Crossing, an RHI development in Riverdale, Ill.

Last week, the Ill. Housing Development Authority announced its final Low-Income Housing Tax Credits awards for the year. Of the 17 financing awards provided to developments in 2014, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is proud that three of those were to developments that applied for subsidies through the Regional Housing Initiative, a one-of-a-kind partnership between nine regional housing authorities in northeastern Illinois, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and MPC. Participating housing authorities pool a portion of their available rental assistance to provide long-term support for the rehabilitation or construction of multifamily, affordable rental homes in great communities across the region. With this recent award notice, the Regional Housing Initiative has supported…

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Strengthening Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance for all

Flickr user Zach Ellerbrook (cc)

When the City of Chicago’s Dept. of Planning and Development released its Five-Year Housing Plan in early 2014, it was encouraging to see a commitment to explore how to strengthen the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. Enacted in 2003 and amended in 2007, the Ordinance mandates that any private-market residential development with more than 10 units must set aside 10 percent of units as affordable or donate $100,000 per required unit to the City’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. This fee in lieu of building the actual units is then used to fund affordable units elsewhere, often on the city’s South and West sides. Source for both maps: City of Chicago, Data Portal, City of Chicago Supported Affordable Housing Developments When the Chicago Rehab Network and…

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Strengthening Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance: Tailor-made incentives for affordable living

Flickr user Justin Kern (cc)

When the City of Chicago’s Dept. of Planning and Development released its Five-Year Housing Plan in early 2014, it was encouraging to see a commitment to exploring how to strengthen the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. However, the Ordinance doesn’t always fulfill its goals. In this series, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will explore a variety of ways to strengthen this ordinance and equip it to deliver results that Chicago’s residents desperately need. The policy debate over the Affordable Requirements Ordinance has me considering the many ways that we label neighborhoods and communities as part of crafting policy interventions. From strong markets to distressed communities to opportunity areas to transitional neighborhoods, there are a million ways to…

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Strengthening Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance: Building on-site versus building nearby

Flickr user Ian Freimuth (cc)

When the City of Chicago’s Dept. of Planning and Development released its Five-Year Housing Plan in early 2014, it was encouraging to see a commitment to exploring how to strengthen the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. However, the Ordinance doesn’t always fulfill its goals. In this series, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will explore a variety of ways to strengthen this ordinance and equip it to deliver results that Chicago’s residents desperately need. In discussions about reforming Chicago’sAffordable Requirements Ordinance, a common proposal from developers is to allow for affordable units to be built in “linked developments” as a third alternative to on-site units or the fee-in-lieu. In other words, rather than build the affordable units…

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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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