August Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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August Media Tips

Anniversary of Katrina Serves as Reminder about Value of Planning

During the week of Aug. 29, the nation will unite with still-devastated Gulf Coast communities in observance of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina , reflecting on the unnecessary lives lost and destroyed, and progress made toward rebuilding. Among the important lessons to emerge has been the vital role comprehensive community planning plays in ensuring safe and adequate housing, transportation, and job opportunities for all Americans. The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is a regional resource for any group or individual – from reporters to municipalities, employers to developers – that want to learn more about how community planning shapes our lives.

At its core, community planning is about providing access. As Hurricane Katrina made clear, a community in which some or all residents lack access – whether to well-paying jobs, quality schools, affordable homes, or reliable public transit – is, at best, at risk of disinvestment and isolation; at worst, in danger of succumbing to its vulnerabilities. Recall that as Katrina bore down on New Orleans last August, many residents had no choice but to remain in their homes; lacking personal vehicles and transit service to evacuate, they were trapped.

Coverage of the one-year anniversary of Katrina is likely to focus on disaster preparedness – an important topic, to be sure. However, the media also can play a role in preventing future man-made disasters by shining a spotlight on the role local, state and federal government plays in planning communities that keep the doors of democracy open to everyone, by ensuring equal access to such basic necessities as homes, transportation, jobs, and education.

MPC contact: MarySue Barrett, President, 312.863.6001, msbarrett@metroplanning.org
Contact: Michael Davidson, Manager, Campaign for Sensible Growth, 312.863.6009, mdavidson@growingsensibly.org

New Transportation/Land Use Agency to Deliver Report to Legislature Sept. 1

As cities and towns across northeastern Illinois work to achieve their community visions, the playing field is far from level. Some communities have the means to hire expert planners and consultants to thoughtfully orchestrate the creation of new homes for residents of all incomes; lively, walkable business districts; and transportation routes serving drivers, transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians. Others lack the means to pay for any expertise, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with neighbors, and exacerbating problems such as traffic congestion, unemployment and homelessness. Enter the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP): formed by merger of the region’s transportation and land use agencies in August 2005, CMAP has great potential to provide all communities with tools and incentives to help them meet local needs while strengthening the entire region. Friday, Sept. 1, is a big day both for the agency and the region: CMAP will report to the state legislature on the funding, authority and tools it needs to achieve this mission.

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has advocated for a strong CMAP decades before its inception. CMAP should have the authority to use federal and state funding to provide incentives for municipalities to grow within the context of the adopted regional plan. While most development decisions will continue to be made at the local level, CMAP can offer technical assistance and incentives to support development techniques that work, resulting in a more vibrant region that offers all residents choices on where and how they can live, work, and play. For more information, visit MPC's Web site and CMAP's Web site .

MPC contact: MarySue Barrett, President, 312 .863.6001, msbarrett@metroplanning.org Contact: Tom Garritano, Director of Communications, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 312.386.8609, tgarritano@chicagoareaplanning.org

MPC Co-Sponsors Land Development Seminar on Lake, McHenry, Cook counties

As opportunities for new development continue to boom in the north and northwest suburbs, developers and community planners face a softening residential market and the need for community planning to address the housing, transportation, and jobs needs of current and anticipated residents. Learn how development is being shaped in Lake , McHenry and northern Cook counties at the Land Development Conference (and Golf Tournament) on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, presented by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Illinois Real Estate Journal, and Urban Land Institute-Chicago.

At the conference, an exhibition center will feature local land use plans, developer displays, and other booths, including MPC’s kiosk with recent publications and tools for community development. Kristi DeLaurentiis, MPC manager of local government and community relations, will moderate one of eight panels on topics such as the state of the market, role of city planners, tax treatments for selling and exchanging land, and residential and commercial development.

The conference kicks off at 8 a.m., and attendees are encouraged to come as early as 7:15 a.m. to register and enjoy a continental breakfast. For non-golfers, the conference wraps up at noon. Media may attend free of charge and should register with Valerie Miller of the Real Estate Communications Group. Guest registration details are available on MPC's Web calendar .

MPC Contact: Mandy Burrell, Communications Associate, 312.863.6018, mburrell@metroplanning.org
Contact: Valerie Miller, Conference Coordinator, Real Estate Communications Group, 312.644.7115, vmiller@rejournals.com

Speak Out for Illinois Schools Hosting September Roundtables on Education

In September, the A+ Illinois campaign for statewide school funding and property tax reform will participate in a series of roundtables on education presented by Speak Out for Illinois Schools. The events are invitation-only; however, media are encouraged to attend to hear panelists on both sides of the fence speak about the state of school funding in Illinois , a top issue in the 2006 elections. Each roundtable will take place between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Locations are being set now; call for details.

Rock Island : Tuesday, Sept 12
Tinley Park : Wednesday, Sept. 13
Rockford : Thursday, Sept. 14
Peoria : Thursday, Sept. 21
Metro East: Tuesday, Sept. 26
Champaign : Wednesday, Sept. 27

A+ Illinois Contact: Clare Fauke, Communications Coordinator, 312.863.6012, cfauke@aplusillinois.org
Contact: Samantha Anderson, Media Relations Director, Speak Out for Illinois Schools, 773.456.1456, sanderson@qualityednow.org

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