Kara Riggio - Staff member - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Kara Riggio

Kara joined MPC in January of 2012. She manages Great Rivers Chicago, a robust community planning effort for Chicago’s 150+ miles of riverfront that helps communities proactively plan for new development scenarios, future investments and technical assistance in and along Chicago’s three rivers: the Chicago, Calumet and Des Plaines.  

Kara’s expertise is in community development through place-based approaches and urban planning with more than 11 years of professional experience. She led MPC's research on the impact of Chicago's People Spots and the organization’s 2014 Placemaking Challenge, Old Place New Tricks, which equipped communities across the city with tools to take on their own Placemaking initiatives.

Kara regularly works with stakeholders and governmental leaders on issues related to neighborhood vibrancy and public space and has supported place-based and river-oriented projects nationally and internationally. Kara is a member of Project for Public Spaces’ Placemaking Leadership Council and Chicago Loop Alliance’s Placemaking Committee, and is president of her local park advisory council.

A native of Connecticut, Kara taught in public schools for six years before pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kara completed training with the Project for Public Spaces in New York, has worked with the League of Illinois Bicyclists and studied in China on a Fulbright-Hayes scholarship.

Kara lives in Edgewater, and spends her free time with her husband and their children.


  1. Riverfront Development: Lessons from the City of Light

    • By Kara Riggio and Maya Masterson, Research Assistant
    • Dec 5, 2017
  2. Riverfront Development: Lessons from an Italian sister city

    • By Kara Riggio and Giovanni Tucci, Research Assistant
    • Nov 30, 2017

More news »

Photo of Kara Riggio


Kara Riggio Manager
312 863 6022

Areas of expertise

  • Community development and engagement
  • Riverfront planning and development
  • Placemaking
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Education



M.U.P.P., Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago
B.A., Studio Art and Art Education, University of Maryland, College Park                                

Fulbright-Hayes Scholar

This page can be found online at http://www.metroplanning.org/people/staff-member/

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