One year since President Obama's election: a look ahead - Metropolitan Planning Council

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One year since President Obama's election: a look ahead

Since President Obama was elected one year ago, the nation has focused on how he and his administration are working to reform healthcare and revive the economy. At MPC, we’ve been paying close attention to how the administration can lay a stronger foundation to support long-term, sustainable economic growth in metropolitan regions.

MPC President MarySue Barrett will be on Channel 7 this afternoon at 4:30 p.m., talking about some of these ideas.

President Obama wants to deploy taxpayer dollars to initiatives that will build this foundation, positioning the nation and its metro regions to compete in the global economy. That’s why the administration has begun to align more than a dozen agencies’ goals (such as DOT, EPA, HUD, DOE, etc.) and coordinate their investments to make the biggest impact. The administration is asking regional growth and development advocates like MPC to alert them to systemic disconnects that would benefit from improved coordination, and to local models that have sparked jobs and economic growth in our own communities, despite broken federal policies or misguided investments of the past.

At MPC’s Annual Luncheon in September, and in October through our Advancing Livability Principles white paper (produced in partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority, Center for Neighborhood Technology, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning), MPC has been offering the administration ideas from Chicagoland.

One of these ideas was advanced today by the Cook County Board, which deserves kudos for awarding some $11,942,350 in foreclosure recovery funding to two groups of communities in south and west Cook County. The county's support recognizes that these municipalities are planning to make the most of these investments by working across municipal borders on comprehensive, sustainable redevelopment plans. While each town has its own foreclosure issues, the entire region feels the net impact; because the scale of the problem is regional, so, too, should be the solution.

By taking a collaborative approach, the communities are saving money by pooling resources and doing bulk acquisition of properties; and encouraging developers by creating a “one-stop shopping” approach. Perhaps most importantly, they’re leveraging additional funding to do truly sustainable, energy-efficient redevelopment near transit and jobs, all of which will only add to the affordability of those units in the long run.

These and other ideas highlighted in the Advancing Livability Principles paper will help Chicagoland emerge from this tough economic cycle stronger and even more ready to compete on the global scale. We look forward to continued support from the Obama administration to do more of this work on the ground in this region.


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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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