MPC's 2012 policy agenda: It's time to rethink investment - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC's 2012 policy agenda: It's time to rethink investment

MPC's 2012 Plan for Prosperity: Innovative Solutions for the New Normal identifies 10 policy, planning and development reforms MPC is pursuing in 2012. Today's excerpt falls under our policy agenda's "rethink investment" section, which identifies ways to support people with fresh ideas — including neighborhood business owners, community planners, and government agencies — who are rethinking the way we invest in people, communities and infrastructure, right here in metropolitan Chicago. MPC is supporting and learning from these trailblazers, and sharing their stories with the right decision makers to change policies and clear the path toward reinvestment.

The following excerpt highlights the need for stronger incentives for green infrastructure development to manage stormwater. To read MPC’s complete 2012 policy agenda, download Innovative Solutions for the New Normal

Coordinating public, private investments in stormwater management

Chicago’s Logan Square is an up-andcoming neighborhood, attracting new residents and businesses alike. With all this development comes strain on the area’s aging sewer system.

Zina Murray, founder of Logan Square Kitchen, has weathered sewer back-ups in the kitchen’s basement, and other businesses have experienced costly damage. The problems, said Murray, include deteriorating infrastructure, lack of coordination among city departments, and her neighbors’ water use. “People are too busy to think about how their behavior impacts others,” she said.

While confident his ward is one of the city’s greenest, Ald. Rey Colón (35th Ward) agrees “a lot of people are very conscious of how their water use affects others, and some people are not. They decide it’s an issue when they have flooding.”

Because Milwaukee Avenue is a hot spot for flooding, Ald. Colón and the City of Chicago already have invested in solutions along the corridor, including green alleys. In 2011, the alderman and MPC secured a $200,000 Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant from the Illinois EPA to provide businesses and homeowners along a portion of Milwaukee with matching funds to install green roofs, lay permeable pavers, and undertake other stormwater improvements. MPC is helping lead this pilot project to demonstrate how clustering green infrastructure investments can make a measurable difference. 

“Education is key,” said Murray. Ald. Colón would go one step further. “People who come into the area need to be good stewards of the environment, and it’s my job to create incentives so they want to do so,” he said.

To learn more about the Logan Square/Milwaukee Green Development Corridor, visit


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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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