What does “livable” mean to you? It may be a small word, but it is a broad concept at the core of our work at MPC.
Does livable mean you can afford the things you and your family need, including your rent or mortgage, daily travel, utilities, and food?
Does it mean the resources and opportunities you enjoy in your community – quality schools, decent jobs, convenient shops, reliable public transportation, safe places where you and your neighbors can play and be active, clean water and air – are available in cities and towns across the region and nation?
Is a livable place one where the economy, job opportunities, and population are growing?
Is it about looking into the future with confidence, knowing the life you’ve built in the community where you’ve chosen to live is going to get better, not worse?
Might livable also mean making smarter choices, both as individuals and as a community? Can we get more out of investments we’ve already made – in our homes, schools, healthcare system, roads, you name it – by being more resourceful, efficient and innovative?
For MPC, it means all of these things. In our 2011 Plan for Prosperity – our annual agenda for developing, advocating for, and implementing policies that advance our mission – we’ve explained what we mean by “sustainable, equitable and competitive,” how that adds up to “livable,” and what we are working on this year with decision-makers at the municipal, regional, state and federal levels to get there.
We’re building on strong momentum at the federal level: In 2009, the federal government mapped out Livability Principles, six goals driving policies and investments that support economically resilient, environmentally conscious, socially equitable communities. Since then, metropolitan Chicago has attracted new federal resources. This region is proving, with plans such as Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GO TO 2040, and consensus-driven, regional economic development initiatives such as the Chicago Southland Housing and Community Development Collaborative and Gary and Region Investment Project, that we will be good stewards of taxpayer dollars through goal-driven, right-sized and collaborative investments.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review our policy recommendations in the 2011 Plan for Prosperity and share with me what you think the region needs to do to make livable a word that rings true for each of us.