November/December Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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November/December Media Tips

Visit MPC’s new web site and blog @
Are you looking for just the right stat on local housing foreclosures, or a fresh perspective on solving traffic gridlock? Do you need help understanding what the Obama administration’s policy shifts mean for this region’s workers and employers? Look no further: MPC’S new web site – part of a year-long “freshening up,” which coincided with our 75th anniversary and included a new logo, mission statement, and office space – is user-friendly and content-rich. 

  • Check out the homepage for a snapshot of our latest news and initiatives.
  • Become a regular reader of our new staff-written blog, which features new content almost every day. Subscribe to the RSS feed to make it even easier to stay on top of the latest news, data and opinions on the issues we follow.
  • Delve more deeply into MPC’s latest initiatives through the Our work section. Each project has its own hub for related articles and blog posts, reports and research, multimedia, funders and volunteers, and staff contact information.
  • Get to know the people behind our work by visiting the Our people section, where you’ll find a complete list of board members, and a bio and snapshot of each staff member, along with links to his or her projects, blog posts, and contact information.
  • Explore the Multimedia library to download MPC publications, audio and video clips, maps, and more.  

Please visit the site and tell us what works and what can be improved to serve reporters’ needs. Contact Mandy Burrell Booth, MPC assistant communications director, at 312-863-6018 or

To privatize, or not to privatize?
Privatization has made plenty of headlines this year, from the city’s controversial parking meter lease deal to recent rumors that Chicago could lease its water system. Though the city has not confirmed such a deal, media coverage has furthered an important discussion about the pros and cons of privatization of public assets.

For the past several years, MPC has been researching the potential for private investment in public infrastructure to keep Illinois competitive, particularly to support new public assets such as expanded public transit service. Skepticism about privatization is understandable. On the one hand, public-private partnerships have potential to reduce traffic congestion or promote water conservation more efficiently than the public sector can alone. However, to protect public interests, any privatization agreement must ensure strong public oversight, reasonable profits, and infrastructure reinvestment. Without these benefits, privatization makes little sense and just increases costs for consumers. To learn more about this issue, please contact Peter Skosey, MPC vice president, at 312-863-6004 or

Cook County rewards communities with more than $12M for taking collaborative approach to home foreclosure recovery
Home foreclosures occur within municipal borders, but their impacts ripple through housing and labor markets across the region. To make matters worse, the amount of foreclosure recovery funding available to communities pales in comparison to the scale of the problem. For the past year, MPC and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) have been providing technical assistance to two collaborative efforts among municipalities in south and west Cook County, to help them more efficiently address an issue that affects the entire region.

On Nov. 4, the Cook County Board of Commissioners rewarded these two groups of communities – 28 in south Cook and six in west Cook County – with more than $12 million in federal foreclosure recovery funding, a significant portion of the $28 million the county received through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program, created to assist communities that have been affected by foreclosed and abandoned properties.

Both the south and west Cook municipal partnerships have big plans to use this initial investment to jumpstart and leverage additional funds to comprehensively redevelop hundreds of energy-efficient homes, many of which will be near mixed-use and transit-oriented development. By working together, these communities are pooling resources, prioritizing investments for maximum benefit, achieving economies of scale, and creating a "one-stop shop" for developers, employers and lenders. The collaboratives' groundbreaking approach has earned the support of a wide range of regional nonprofits, foundations and companies, and national thought-leaders such as the Brookings Institution. The Obama administration has heralded their collaborative approach as a model for sustainable redevelopment in America's inner suburbs. Read the MPC-MMC media release on these efforts, and learn more about the benefits of community collaboration on MPC’s web site. 

From MPC’s Blog
MPC’s blog features new content almost every day. Catch up on some of November’s posts, below, and subscribe to the RSS feed to stay on top of the latest news, data and opinions on the issues we follow. 

Illinois’ financial situation among worst in the nation by Chrissy Mancini Nichols, 11/20

'It's in business's best interest to back affordable housing' by Mandy Burrell Booth, 11/16

Smarter spending: Investments vs. expenditures by Peter Skosey, 11/13

What Waukesha's water plan means for Illinois by Josh Ellis, 11/12

Learn about the proposed Livable Communities Act by Samantha DeKoven, 11/5

Northeastern Illinois' foreclosure devastation rivals Gulf Coast housing losses by Robin Snyderman, 10/27

Dates to Watch

24 Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group Meeting MPC participates in these discussions as part of our Water Supply Planning work. The November meeting will focus on the future of regional water supply planning in the region. This meeting takes place in Chicago from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 


3 Bring Workers Home: 2009 Northwestern Regional Forum on Employer-Assisted Housing MPC Housing Consultant Samantha DeKoven will serve as moderator for two of the panel discussions at this day-long forum on employer-assisted housing in Boise, Idaho.

9 Mortgage Foreclosure Policy: Past, Present and Future for Home Owners, Renters, and Communities  MPC Vice President of Housing and Community Development Robin Snyderman will participate in one of the panel discussions at this day-long event in Chicago.


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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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