What MPC got done in year eighty-one: Reflecting on 2015 - Metropolitan Planning Council

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What MPC got done in year eighty-one: Reflecting on 2015

Metropolitan Planning Council

Great Rivers Chicago embodies the MPC model of engaging residents through meaningful, interactive meetings; researching what exists now and what other places have done; and planning for the future.

In 2015, MPC’s work directly affected 26,112 residents in Chicagoland by improving opportunities to live near transit, decreasing housing and transportation costs and increasing the number of jobs in the region.

2015 has been an electric year of leaping head first into the five five-year goals we set for ourselves in 2014. I have been thrilled to see both long-time and new MPC faces alike get excited about our ambitious agenda. They know that by pursuing these goals we really are staying true to our vision of making the Chicago region a better place to live and work.

One of our highest priorities has been attracting and focusing development around transit, and we were gratified when the Chicago City Council passed new incentives for more units, less parking spots that sit empty and more affordable homes to meet demand to live near transit. MPC Research Director Chrissy Mancini Nichols digs into our progress on that work in our final Data Points research brief of the year.

Below are a selection of stats that highlight the importance of our work and the tangible impact we’ve had on the region this year.


This work, in partnership with the City of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago River and many, many others, will create a long-term vision and action agenda for the whole Chicago river system: the Chicago, Calumet and Des Plaines rivers. 2015 has been chock full of extensive, gratifying public outreach and research, thanks to our partners—the City of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago River and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning—and funders—ArcelorMittal, Boeing, The Chicago Community Trust, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Joyce Foundation.


The Calumet Stormwater Collaborative is facilitated by MPC and comprised of the key stakeholders controlling land, infrastructure, financing tools or regulatory powers related to stormwater. It fosters awareness of the many ongoing stormwater management initiatives in the Calumet region and identifies opportunities to align existing initiatives (or develop new ones).


Accelerate Illinois is a campaign to get the residents of Illinois—and their elected representatives—to spur state action to achieve better roads and transit. We began by working with dscout, a market research start-up in Chicago, to gather input from 445 Illinois residents. We have taken this feedback to 105 Illinois legislators, along with compelling maps and analysis.


Illinois has more units of government than any other state by a wide margin. While many of those units perform vital functions, it’s important to look at the picture as a whole and understand where options for consolidation and service-sharing exist. Transform Illinois is a coalition led by DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin and MPC to do just that.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all we’ve accomplished this year, but it does put our scope of work in perspective. MPC gets a lot done!


To help solve the region’s most pressing issues, we educate the public by hosting numerous events, keeping our blog well stocked with content and staying relevant in the news cycle. Here are a few highlights from last year:


From our lunchtime roundtables digging our teeth into innovative solutions, to our evening Urban Think & Drinks with creative thought leaders, to a suite of half-day and day-long events featuring experts at the top of their field, MPC events keep the public, as well as decision-makers, in touch with our work in fun, engaging ways.


MPC’s communications team is always tying our work to the news of the day. It shows, with an impressive number of media mentions and appearances.


At MPC, we realize the best advocate for our work is ourselves. Multiple staff write for the blog, attracting more readers every week and fans on social media. The result is a robust collection of voices and perspectives relevant to cities and regions everywhere.


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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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