February Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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February Media Tips

MPC in Springfield: Cheap is good, free is better

Good policy doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact, it can lead to cost savings – and MPC’s 2010 Springfield legislative agenda is proof. “We know the state’s fiscal situation is dire,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “We’re promoting initiatives that would cost little or nothing to implement, and yield long-term economic benefits.”

MPC’s top state legislative priorities for 2010:

Read more about MPC’s 2010 Springfield legislative agenda, and contact Mandy Burrell Booth, MPC assistant communications director, at 312-863-6018 or mburrell@metroplanning.org, for more information.

Winter water woes worsen … but why?

Winter in the Chicago region brings with it certain weather-related hassles, such as salt stains, sore throats, and cancelled flights. Plummeting temperatures also pummel local infrastructure, often causing water main breaks – which trigger their own set of problems, including: 

  • Damage to property
  • Traffic tie-ups and road closures
  • Sinkholes, potholes, and budget holes
  • Treacherous conditions for pedestrians and shoppers
  • Poor water quality

Clearly, winter is an immense strain on our physical infrastructure. The city of Chicago alone has around 4,200 miles of water mains, many of which were installed between 1890 and 1930 and are beyond capacity. Main breaks are the most visible sign of infrastructure deterioration, but hardly the most pervasive.  Constant leaks in public water pipes are a drain on water, energy and budget resources. A water system that loses "only" 10 percent of its load to leakage is considered exemplary. 

Part of the problem is a lack of revenue — too often infrastructure repair costs are not built into water rates, so communities simply have no money to fix pipes.  That mounts over time and, now, water consumers in 2010 are saddled with repairs that were needed in 1980. 

Learn more about metropolitan Chicago’s water infrastructure woes by contacting Josh Ellis, MPC’s water expert, at 312-863-6045 or jellis@metroplanning.org. Also, read Josh’s latest blog post on water infrastructure: MPC in D.C.: Reforming water infrastructure funding.

2010 Census will provide critical data, paint 'America's portrait'
It’s a banner year for planners, advocates, and other data junkies, including MPC: The 2010 U.S. Census is being conducted.

Though forms won’t be mailed out until March, MPC already is helping spread the word about the value of participating in the Census. We know the information collected and made available by the Census determines the allocation of federal funds to metropolitan Chicago and other regions. Updated Census data also helps private companies retool strategies, as they learn more about their markets, trends, and the workforce.

The Census.gov web site features wonderful mini-documentaries of urban, small town, and rural Americans, explaining how they will benefit from the Census. As these stories point out, the Census helps determine funding not only for mega-scale improvements, but also for smaller scale projects that improve neighborhoods and people’s lives, much like those highlighted in MPC’s monthly Placemaking case studies available on the Placemaking Chicago web site.

For information on how the Census affects community development and planning, please contact Mandy Burrell Booth, MPC assistant communications director, at 312-863-6018 or mburrell@metroplanning.org.

From MPC’s Blog

MPC’s blog features new content daily. Catch up on our latest posts, below, and subscribe to our RSS feed to stay on top of the latest news, data and opinions.

For More Information

MPC on the web: metroplanning.org

MPC on Twitter: @Metroplanners

MPC on Facebook: Metropolitan Planning Council


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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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