Just weeks into a new decade, MPC staff already has plans – big and small – for how their work will help improve the metropolitan region in 2010.
This year my resolution is to help foster linkages and promote collaboration between MPC and its partners throughout the region. My goal is for MPC to be an even more effective organization, one that is successful in tackling challenges both big and small, as we strive to ensure the entire region—both northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana— is economically competitive, equitable and sustainable. In 2010, let’s work on issues together again!
Mandy Burrell Booth
MPC’s brand-new web site and Facebook fan page were a big hit in 2009. I resolve to continue to expand MPC’s online presence and use of social media and web tools to improve our communications in 2010.
Chrissy Mancini Nichols
My New Year’s resolution is to produce concrete, data-driven examples demonstrating the benefits of goal-driven, right-sized and coordinated public investments. The economic challenges facing all levels of government make it impractical and wasteful to invest public dollars in programs without measured outcomes or without considering how, for example, investments in transportation can connect to investments in environment, workforce or housing programs.
I resolve to flush a toilet with rainwater. It just makes sense, and since rain is the only truly free water source we have, it makes “cents,” too. Every day we pay millions of dollars to pump and treat millions of gallons of Lake Michigan, Fox River, and aquifer water … and then we flush it down the toilet. If Illinois had minimum standards for rainwater harvesting in its plumbing code, we would be better able to reduce stormwater runoff and conserve potable water supplies.
In 2010, I resolve to help partners around the country lead the way toward sustainable, economically vibrant, equitable communities through coordinated efforts among business leaders, housing organizations, and local leaders to connect the housing-transportation-workforce dots – beginning with employer-assisted housing. HUD, DOT, and EPA’s creation of the Sustainable Communities Initiative and these agencies’ commitment to work together to promote livable communities was a great start. Now, key elected officials and administrators need to hear from organizations working on-the-ground to ensure strong communities, with a range of housing options, close to jobs, transportation and amenities. Business leaders, housing advocates, and community stakeholders working together can help implement the goals of the Sustainable Communities Initiative with actual projects and investments. Starting small with employer-assisted housing programs is a proven strategy to build partnerships, engage the private sector, and establish public-private collaboration.
2009 was a successful year for interjursidictional collaboration, with two housing collaboratives forming in the southern and western suburbs of Cook County and joint applications submitted for Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding to address foreclosures in their communities. In 2010, I look forward to helping these collaboratives begin successful implementation of their NSP projects, and supporting this interjurisdictional approach to housing in other clusters around the Chicago region. With the economic climate still unsteady, the efficiency and capacity offered by a collaborative model provides a compelling reason for communities to work together.
Lake Michigan may be just blocks away from our office, but we know our region’s water resources are finite – and costly to deliver. This year I resolve to make the right personal choices to reign in my own water use. I’ll begin by calculating my water footprint and identifying ways to reduce gallons used. A great resource I plan to use is Good magazine’s chart of examples of how much water is used in some daily activities.
More and more communities across the region are working with neighboring municipalities to meet our region’s housing needs. I look forward to coordinating with these groups to help them engage their local employers in supporting a balanced housing stock and well-prepared homeowners through employer-assisted housing.
In 2010, I hope to hold our new federal administration to its promise of rewarding innovation and collaboration. I’ll start by promoting the great work of our many regional partners who are planning sustainably, working across borders, and advancing integrated growth and development that connects residential and commercial development with safe and reliable public transportation. I’ll also work to help these communities secure funding for and implement their plans.
In 2010, I resolve to advocate for state and federal policies that promote quality public spaces, including pedestrian and bicycle policies that create safe streets for all forms of transportation. I also will challenge myself to find new and exciting ways to engage residents in planning for their communities.
Recognizing that resources are more valuable than ever, I resolve to build even stronger relationships with each one of MPC’s supporters, demonstrating that an investment in MPC is a commitment that can truly affect positive change in our region.
Emily Tapia Lopez
In 2010, I resolve to engage my fellow neighbors in the public process and be better engaged in my community. Toward the end of 2009, we started piecing together the building blocks that would transform an old vacant lot into a positive public space in the neighborhood. This process has brought neighbors together, working toward a common goal. Building on this momentum, I see 2010 as the year to continue to push the envelope. Whether advocating for better access to transit, greater pedestrian and complete streets policies, or just being in tune with our local elected representatives, I’m looking forward to building a strong coalition of leaders that are engaged in the future of our community.
I resolve to get engaged in my local election and work for a candidate that I believe makes a difference. Policy change starts with the electoral process; only when we get a large majority of the region’s residents supporting candidates by walking precincts, hosting coffees, and talking to their neighbors – only then will real change happen.