At this season of reflection, we've been taking stock around the office of all we're thankful for. We believe in the power of stepping back, breathing deeply and assessing the blessings that sometimes disappear into the hustle and bustle of a busy urban planning policy change organization. Here are a few highlights:
*Big ideas that spark wonder. Imagine ziplining across the Chicago River into Ping Tom Park, sunbathing at a riverside beach, or watching theatre projected onto the back side of the Opera Building from a floating island. These are a few of the world-class architects' visions that are inspiring us at the River Edge Ideas Lab, a partnership between the Office of the Mayor, the Department of Planning and Development and the Metropolitan Planning Council, among others. The ideas are pure magic—feasible magic—on display at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph, until January 7th.
*Innovators who are saving taxpayers money. Government and citizen-led initiatives across Illinois are pioneering new ways to deliver better government services at a lower cost. That's why, last month, the 2017 Illinois Transformer Awards honored a few of these local leaders committed to government efficiency reform. Smart, nimble, creative governance? Thank you, Transformers.
*New tools that help us take on our region's biggest issues. Data can tell us a lot about where should drive policies, investments and ideas that ensure all current and future residents can reach their full potential. Luckily, MPC's research team, Alden Loury and Shehara Waas, crunches and translates the numbers. We're indebted to their smart analysis, and we can hardly wait for their forthcoming 2018 State of the Region report, a unique and comprehensive document that will help policymakers address our area’s toughest planning and development challenges.
*Safe, quality drinking water. Each time we turn on the tap, we barely consider the effort that brings us potable water. We're grateful to our colleagues who work behind the scenes on water supply management and conservation, so that we can easily quench our thirst. Cheers to your forthcoming Drinking Water 1-2-3 handbook that will guide local officials and community leaders in drinking water supply management.
*Good public transportation. We're grateful we have it. Our region cannot function without it. To keep what we have and improve it, we need to develop sustainable transportation revenue and give transit its fair share.
Chicagoland enjoys praiseworthy assets, not least of which are the invidividuals behind these resources, the ones making our region more equitable, sustainable and prosperous. In this season of pause, we're grateful for our colleagues and partners who move the region forward with us. We truly make this place Better Together.