MPC's New Year's resolutions - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC's New Year's resolutions

MPC staff share their plans for strengthening the region, and the organization, in 2008

Though 2008 is just days old, MPC staff already has plans for how their daily work will help improve the metropolitan region this year.

Joanna Trotter, Manager, MPC Community Building Initiative

My New Year’s resolution is to foster greater cooperation between communities in the region.

My hope for our region is that we begin to work across municipal boundaries for the greater economic and social well being of the entire Chicagoland area. Toward this end, I will help communities work together to pool resources in order to create high-quality affordable housing in areas with good job opportunities, such as the north and northwest satellite cities.

I also will work with communities that are jointly attracting new economic development and investments to areas that historically have struggled to bring in new business, industry, and quality jobs, such as those along the Calumet River. By working together and not competing, communities will be more apt to identify their individual strengths and unique place in our regional market and will collectively attract resources and use them more efficiently.

Michael McLaughlin, Director of Regional Policy and Transportation

With federal and state transportation dollars flat-lining and losing their purchasing power, we need to find ways to stretch those dollars even further. “Congestion pricing” is a mechanism proven worldwide to manage demand for roads and other transportation modes. In 2008, cities such as New York, San Francisco, Miami and Seattle likely will join the growing ranks of metropolitan areas that will implement congestion pricing.

The Chicago region should develop and coalesce around a comprehensive congestion pricing strategy this year, so that 2009 will become the year of implementation of congestion pricing in the region. MPC will explore the possibilities for congestion pricing in our region by partnering with the Toll Highway Authority to study the effects of congestion pricing on Chicagoland’s toll road network. MPC also will establish peer exchanges and forums with other cities around the nation and world to highlight best practices with regard to congestion pricing and related transit and road improvements.

Karin Sommer , Associate

The focus for my first year at MPC will be on creating and sustaining great places in Chicago. Three projects specifically address this goal: Placemaking; A New North Lawndale; and our emerging transit-oriented development initiative.

The Placemaking project will establish a curriculum for creating and maintaining great public spaces in Chicago through the production of a guidebook, trainings, and technical assistance to Chicago neighborhood groups.

A New North Lawndale deals with street design, using the redevelopment of Ogden Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly corridor as a catalyst for change in Chicago’s North Lawndale community.

The transit-oriented development initiative will build upon our successful Jan. 10th roundtable, “Within Our Reach: Your World in Half a Mile,” to encourage and implement more development near transit in Chicago.

Katherine Bucar , Graphic Design Associate

I resolve to streamline MPC’s communication to board, donors, partners, and friends; and further develop MPC’s targeted electronic communications. In 2008, MPC will increase the availability of our information online – and, in so doing, reduce paper waste! Beginning later this month, we will introduce a new monthly e-mail newsletter that consolidates two existing communiqués, and complements our printed, tri-annual Regional Connection newsletter, as well as our quarterly reports to the board.

Lillie Jernigan, Consultant, Employer-Assisted Housing

In 2008, I'm excited to continue building on the momentum from the work MPC started in 2007 under the Charter One Workforce Housing Initiative in Chicago's northwest and northern suburbs. Partnering with 10 municipalities and not-for-profit housing experts, the traction for this initiative is strong and will continue to grow this year as we work with area employers to develop public-private housing resources for area families.

Under this initiative in the northwest suburbs of Mt. Prospect, Palatine, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, and Buffalo Grove, the partner is Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC). HODC is also the main partner in the northern suburbs of Deerfield, Highwood, Highland Park, Lake Forest , and Northbrook , along with the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County (AHC).

In addition to convening employers through unified outreach, several of these communities are moving forward with their own unique contributions to the supply of affordable workforce housing. Throughout 2008, I will be working closely with municipal staff and our housing expert partners to take employer interest and activity around workforce housing in these communities to the next level.

Josh Ellis, Community Building Associate

By improving MPC’s research, analysis, and presentation capabilities, I hope to help communities better understand and visualize the steps they can take to make more equitable, sustainable and sensible choices about the future. Between our publications, such as the forthcoming Housing 1-2-3 the hands-on training workshops that go with them; and original research and analysis, my hope is that any kind of community – from fast-growing suburbs to more established, yet disinvested, communities – will be better equipped to tackle any development challenge.

Kristi DeLaurentiis, Manager of Local Government and Community Relations

Many municipalities have moved ahead on their plans to create livable, vibrant communities. Some, following extensive planning processes, are already implementing the forward-looking strategies that are needed to get them there. Others are learning from their neighbors in the region or looking elsewhere across the globe, what it takes to tackle particularly thorny challenges that impact residents and businesses.

My New Year’s resolution is to showcase Illinois communities leading the way, where planning and innovative strategies make a difference in the character of the place and people’s lives; and examine measures that can help others along the way.

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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