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Josh Ellis

Josh has been with MPC since 2006. He directs MPC’s sustainability initiatives, most notably in the fields of Stormwater Mitigation and Water Supply Management. Through on-the-ground initiatives like the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor, technical assistance to the Northwest Water Planning Alliance, and facilitation of diverse stakeholder groups—such as the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative—he leads MPC's multiple strategies to sustainably manage Illinois' finite water resources and reduce the harmful impacts of stormwater. 

He leads many of MPC's research projects, including Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use, Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago's New Route to Opportunity, and Before the Wells Run DryHe also coordinates MPC's research assistant program, of which he himself is an alumnus.

Josh is a member of the Midwest Leadership Council of the National Parks Conservation Association, the Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council, and the advisory committee exploring the future of the Chicago Area Waterway System. He is President of the Board at PODER, which serves adult immigrants with a mission to provide the necessary academic tools to promote human dignity, increase employment potential, and facilitate participation in the larger community. 

A New Hampshire native, Josh resides in Chicago’s South Loop where he is a Board member of the Greater South Loop Association. He managed a small school in Japan before his graduate studies in public policy and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago.  His honors thesis, published in Water, Environmental Security and Sustainable Rural Development: Conflict and Cooperation in Central Eurasia, compared the political discourse of marsh restoration in southeastern Iraq with the environmental history of the region.

Blog posts

  1. Taking Action: Vernon Hills’ underground stormwater solution

    • By Josh Ellis and MPC Research Assistant Annie McDonough
    • Aug 11, 2015
  2. Taking Action: Breaking away from government as usual

    • By Josh Ellis and MPC Research Assistant Annie McDonough
    • Aug 11, 2015
  3. Whose green infrastructure is it anyway?

    • By Josh Ellis and MPC Research Assistant Daniel Wolf
    • Jun 1, 2015

More posts »

Long reads

  1. Calumet Stormwater Collaborative meeting materials

    • By Josh Ellis and MPC Research Assistant Kelsey Pudlock
    • Jan 20, 2015

More long reads »

Photo of Josh Ellis


Josh Ellis Director
312 863 6045

Areas of expertise

  • State, regional and local water resources management
  • Stormwater infrastructure and planning
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Community and economic development
  • Natural resources and environmental policy


M.P.P., Public Policy, University of Chicago
M.A., Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago
B.A., English Literature, College of William and Mary

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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