November Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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November Media Tips


Great Lakes Leaders to Map Infrastructure Priorities at 11/17 Conference

Soaring energy costs, flooding, insufficient mass transit, and crumbling bridges – all have made recent headlines and all stem from poor planning and the continued strain on our nation’s infrastructure. President-elect Barack Obama’s $5 billion proposal to support Great Lakes restoration, along with the potential for a second economic stimulus package that includes money for infrastructure, make this an ideal time to set a new agenda for investment in the Great Lakes region.

Toward that end, the Chicago region’s Metropolitan Planning Council and Regional Plan Association of New York will co-host “Rebuilding and Renewing America: Infrastructure Choices in the Great Lakes Megaregion,” on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago. 

Participants will include leaders from the Great Lakes business, civic, government, and academic communities. They will help identify and prioritize strategic investments in transportation, water and energy to be included in a national infrastructure plan, authorization of a new surface transportation bill, pending climate change legislation, and implementation of the Great Lakes Compact.  This forum is part of America 2050, a national initiative to develop an infrastructure strategy for America’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability.

Members of the media can register by contacting MPC Asst. Communications Director Mandy Burrell Booth, at 312-863-6018 or

What Should Top President-elect Obama’s To-Do List? Find out Nov. 20

President-elect Barack Obama will spend the next several weeks laying the groundwork for Jan. 20, 2009, when he’ll begin to do the work necessary to meet his campaign promises. Among the issues he must be ready to address are voters’ deep concerns about the tumultuous market, job security, and home values. At a Nov. 20, 2008, MPC roundtable breakfast, some of Chicago’s most seasoned reporters will discuss whether President-elect Obama is ready to address these and other issues important to voters in metropolitan regions.

Michael Flannery, political editor at WBBM CBS 2; Alden Loury, editor of the Chicago Reporter; and Dennis Rodkin, Deal Estate columnist for Chicago Magazine, will reveal what they know and what they want to know about President-elect Obama as he prepares to take office. Hear how they think he will work with Congress to develop federal strategies to support Chicagoland and growing regions. And learn how MPC can work with the media to keep the pressure on the new administration to deliver on top priorities. Valerie Austin-Alexander, executive vice president of public affairs, Edelman, will moderate the discussion.

The roundtable takes place Thursday, Nov. 20, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., at Northern Trust, 50 S. LaSalle St., Chicago. Cost is $15 for MPC donors, $30 for non-donors, and includes breakfast. The event is generously hosted by Northern Trust, with additional sponsorship provided by Edelman. For complete details and to register, visit MPC’s Web calendar.

Tune in to MPC’s New YouTube Channel, MetroplanningChicago

MPC now has a YouTube channel, where you can view MPC's latest videos on regional planning issues. If you have a YouTube account, you can subscribe to MPC's channel and receive e-mail updates whenever new videos are posted. Even if you don't have an account, you still can view and comment on all of our videos by visiting YouTube and searching for MetroplanningChicago. Now playing:

• Placemaking Chicago Watch this two-minute audio slideshow and learn how MPC's new Placemaking initiative is helping Chicagoans translate their great ideas for their neighborhoods into on-the-ground success.
• Corridor Development Initiative Communities often find themselves reacting to a developer's proposal, rather than working to attract development that fits a local plan. MPC is reversing this dynamic through the Corridor Development Initiative, which teaches local stakeholders to articulate their own clear vision of the development they’d like to see and approach developers with their proposal. MPC piloted the initiative in Chicago's Lawndale community this summer, and this seven-minute video explains the process for those who may want to try this approach in their neighborhoods.
• Traffic Costs Chicago Area $7.3 Billion a Year VP of External Relations Peter Skosey discusses MPC’s recent report, Moving at the Speed of Congestion, which quantifies the true cost of traffic to metropolitan Chicago.

For more information, contact MPC Asst. Communications Director Mandy Burrell Booth, at 312-863-6018 or

MPC, Openlands Helping Pave the Way for Illinois to ‘Go Blue’

Now that it’s mainstream to be “green,” consumers are being challenged to “go blue,” with Web sites such as encouraging people to asses their water use and take steps to reduce it. Curbing your consumption isn’t just about turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth (though that’s encouraged): Did you know communities built with greater proximity between homes, jobs, parks, schools and stores tend to use less water per household?
A land use impact calculator, developed by the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, illustrates the denser a community, the less water it consumes. While very few states require land use decisions to factor in impact on water resources, since the 2004 release of Changing Course by the MPC and Openlands, the two organizations have been advocating for exactly that in Illinois.

Since 2005, Illinois has been moving toward a statewide framework for regional water supply planning, but it has been slow-going. Two pilot regional planning groups – in northeastern Illinois and east central Illinois – have completed regional demand analyses, but the state recently cut funding to complete regional supply analyses. County, municipal and foundation dollars have been cobbled together to complete the analyses, but sustained commitment from the State of Illinois is necessary to ensure these pilot groups, as well as those to follow, have the support and resources necessary to plan our state's water future. In early 2009, MPC and Openlands plan to release a report recommending strategies to support and strengthen this burgeoning planning effort. For more information, contact MPC Community Building Associate Josh Ellis, at 312-863-6045 or


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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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