Since 1999, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has been redeveloping its homes and communities, first through the Plan for Transformation and now through Plan Forward. Initially, CHA's investments focused largely on housing units. Increasingly, the agency—as well as the City of Chicago—are recognizing that creating truly successful neighborhoods requires simultaneous investments to attract retail and jobs, as well as to improve transportation options that connect people to work and the rest of the city and region.
Since 2007, MPC's Reconnecting Neighborhoods initiative has advanced community-led planning for and implementation of coordinated investments in retail, transit and pedestrian-friendly development, in and around three communities affected by CHA redevelopment—Mid-South, Near West and Near North.
The benefits: Coordinated investment strengthens communities
Attracts public funding. Recent state and federal policy reforms have more favorably positioned communities to receive public funding if they coordinate investments to achieve multiple goals—therefore making the best use of taxpayer dollars.
Attracts private funding. Communities that demonstrate that they have a comprehensive vision for future development are more likely to attract private investors.
Enhances equity. By coordinating investments in housing, transportation and retail, communities ensure residents have equal access to opportunity.
Reduces household costs. Locating affordable homes near good job opportunities, shopping and public transportation options helps families reduce the top two household expenses: housing and transportation.
Reduces environmental impacts. Providing alternative transportation choices and walkable destinations reduces the need to drive and therefore decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
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