New Tool to Make Your Community Even Better - Metropolitan Planning Council

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New Tool to Make Your Community Even Better

What do you really know about your community and the challenges it faces?

This week, Metropolitan Planning Council, along with partners at Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) and DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies (IHS) launched a new website to help communities identify where common housing challenges exist across the region, and determine the best strategies to tackle those challenges head on.

Created to help municipal officials and staff, policy makers and other housing stakeholders understand the variation in local housing submarkets, reveals that the 275 cities, towns and villages in the Chicago metropolitan area have a lot to learn from each other when it comes to how to make our region the best place to live and raise a family.

Simply put, this comprehensive tool provides informed suggestions for action to better improve your community. Sign up today and receive project updates.

The tool starts from the premise that our region can be divided into submarkets.  This is a term that is used to identify communities with similar characteristics that share common issues regardless of physical proximity.  So while all communities have the little things that make them unique, there are similarities in the problems that they face. Using U.S. Census data, the project has identified eight such submarkets that exist in the seven-county Chicago region. By typing in the name of your community into the website search bar, you can find out to which submarket you belong. From there, you can see all other communities in your same submarket that face similar issues to you.

Seeing which communities have similar problems can build collaborative bridges and looking at another community from the outside can help bring to light issues in your blind spot. The toolkit provides a rundown of the characteristics of your community, including the issues that require attention.

This website does not just stop at identifying problems to be solved, it also equips communities for action.  For each issue, the website explains the problem in an intuitive and easy to understand fashion and gives possible strategies and why they work to improve your community. Furthermore, there are embedded links to more detailed resources for very specific points of improvement within certain issues. These resources are free to use and intuitively linked into the text so that they can be useful to anyone.  With this information at your disposal, it is possible to enact real change in your community, tailored to its specific needs and requirements.

MPC—along with our partners at CMAP and the Mayor’s Caucus—have a long history of ensuring our region creates forward-looking housing plans that not only address the needs of today’s residents but more importantly plan for the people who will be living in those communities 30 years from now. is the latest in a long series of tools MPC and its partners have created to help communities identify tested solutions and strategies needed to address their housing challenges.


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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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