We Will Chicago, the first citywide plan in over 50 years, has launched. Visit wewillchicago.com/draft to see the plan and add your voice.
We Will Chicago – Chicago’s first citywide plan in more than 50 years – has been released for public comment. Public input on the draft plan will be accepted through November 1, 2022, and the Department of Planning and Development intends to bring the final plan to the Chicago Plan Commission in early 2023.
Read on for an overview of what’s in the plan, details on where MPC has been involved, and a preview of this summer’s public engagement opportunities.
Draft Plan – Historical Reckoning
The We Will Chicago Draft Plan includes many parts, which can be downloaded as a whole, or as individual sections.
The full Draft Plan includes the Historical Acknowledgement section, on which MPC advised. This section discusses how the plan will address the theme of “Historical Reckoning & Trust Building,” and serves as an acknowledgment that urban planning in the City of Chicago has often been advanced in a way that is detrimental to African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American Chicagoans.
In Spring 2022, MPC began facilitating a working group of community and civic leaders to explore what a community-driven historical reckoning process could look like in Chicago and to propose language around historical acknowledgment to include in We Will Chicago. The Historical Reckoning Working Group provided definitions, examples, and draft language to the City, which are heavily reflected in this section. The working group will be publishing a summary report of its activities and research in the coming weeks.
Draft Plan – Pillar Reports
We Will Chicago has 8 pillar topic areas – Civic Engagement & Community Engagement was added in Spring 2022 after research team and advisory committee feedback. Each pillar area had a Research Team made up of community experts and sector professionals that worked on developing goals, objectives, and policy ideas for each area. Each pillar report can be downloaded separately from the site and includes data on Chicago’s existing conditions related to that topic, the goals, and objectives. MPC staff participated on the Public Health & Safety research team, as well as the Advisory Committee, which doubled as the Civic & Community Engagement research team.
Draft Plan – Policy Ideas
Each pillar research team also developed more specific policy ideas for each goal and objective in their area. These can be found in separate Policy Ideas document. The Chicago Department of Public Health and Office of Equity and Racial Justice, in partnership with MPC and the Illinois Public Health Institute, and a set of volunteers from the research teams, will conduct a deeper analysis on a subset of the policy ideas to get a sense of the positive (or any unintended negative) consequences we might see if these policies are implemented.
How to Get Involved & Share Feedback
You can provide feedback on the goals and objectives for each policy area by taking a survey. The We Will Chicago team will have information about the plan at many community events. MPC is also partnering with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the City of Chicago to host a Global Voices, Local Action event series featuring local and international leaders highlighting planning practices that center the goals and objectives of each pillar topic. In the coming weeks, the City will also be launching an updated version of the Meeting-in-a-Box Toolkit, a resource that any resident or organization can use to host a discussion session to provide input on the citywide plan. MPC helped develop and pilot an early version of this toolkit in Fall 2021 – Spring 2022.
After the broad public engagement ends in November, City staff will review input from the surveys, events, and Meeting-in-a-Box sessions, and make revisions to the draft. The final plan will be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission in early 2023, which will vote on whether to adopt the plan formally. Then, it will be time for everyone to start implementing the great policy ideas and moving toward the goals in the plan, together. Stay tuned for more updates!