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City of Chicago unveils proposal for 2015 TOD ordinance

Metropolitan Planning Council

MPC's Grow Chicago website and TOD Calculator offers users the ability to "design" a development for any parcel in the city.

This month, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) unveiled Grow Chicago, a campaign to grow our city’s population by increasing the opportunity for housing and commercial development near public transportation. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is an effective and efficient growth strategy that limits congestion, reduces pollution, strengthens neighborhood economies and offers equitable access to opportunity. Our interactive website includes a Calculator that allows people to “design” a project and see how it will impact the surrounding community. Our interactive TOD Calculator demonstrates how TOD is Chicago's path to growth. To realize the full growth potential of transit-oriented development, or TOD, MPC recommends the City of Chicago reform the zoning code…

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Dancing for clean water

Kelli-Ann Sottile

Some of the women and children in Kagbal gather for a community meeting.

Without hesitation I bet you can name the five nearest schools to your home. I bet you also know the fastest way to your nearby hospital, just in case. And I am guessing you have spent more than your fair share of weekends at the local mall. But if I asked you where your local water utility was located, would you know? Would you believe me if I told you that public drinking water systems in the U.S. outnumbers shopping centers, hospitals and public schools COMBINED? 48,695 shopping centers + 5,686 hospitals + 98,328 public schools = 152,708 < 152,713 public water systems If you are anything like me (Kelli-Ann), that number is shockingly large. But then you start to think, “But water is a basic necessity and the population in the US is over 300 million, so maybe the number is…

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Building an ecodistrict at Paris’ Gare de Rungis

Yonah Freemark

The Gare de Rungis ecodistrict saves Paris money by absorbing most of the area's stormwater on site.

One thing is immediately apparent to any visitor to Paris: It is a very dense city, with more than four times as many people per square mile as Chicago. All that density creates a very vibrant atmosphere, with cafes and shops everywhere and people crowding the streets. But it also produces significant stress on the city’s infrastructure, in part because of the population’s need for potable water and also due to a relative lack of permeable surfaces. Like in many cities, during heavy rains Paris’ sewers have to absorb the large majority of stormwater. This, in turn, requires high-capacity outflow pipes and significant energy use for treatment since Paris, like Chicago, has a combined sewer system. Though some of these needs have been addressed through a very extensive…

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A call to delay—not cancel—the U.S. Army Corps' restoration plans for Bubbly Creek

Flickr user Curtis Locke (CC)

A recent discovery of contaminants in the sediments on a site adjacent to Bubbly Creek – the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River – has put an abrupt halt to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to restore Bubbly Creek back to a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The recommended plans to move Bubbly Creek restoration efforts forward would cover approximately 44 acres of the channel. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Integrys has been operating under a consent decree since 2008 and has submitted plans for sediment sampling, which would begin this fall. It is unknown whether it will even be necessary. The Leadership Commission of Great Rivers Chicago has encouraged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ to work with them, City of…

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Transform Illinois: What does ‘efficient government’ mean, anyway?

Flickr user J Stephen Conn (cc)

“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Have we finally reached the point where we will actually do something about local government fragmentation and inefficiency here in Illinois? It’s certainly possible: Governor Bruce Rauner’s Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force and the Transform Illinois coalition are holding public meetings, discussing reform proposals and generally bringing some long-needed energy to this issue. To build on these efforts, I asked my students this spring to investigate selected types of special purpose districts in Illinois, analyzing the services provided, financial conditions and efficiency of service provision, and their work offers policy makers guidance on where to direct…

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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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