Metropolitan Planning Council to City Council: Defer the Decision on Mega-Developments - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Metropolitan Planning Council to City Council: Defer the Decision on Mega-Developments

MPC provides testimony and insight into Lincoln Yards and The 78, two new developments that can enact positive change if done the right way. 

The Metropolitan Planning Council applauds the recent efforts by both Mayor-elect Lightfoot and Mayor Emanuel to give more time and thought to the decision-making process regarding Tax Increment Financing for the two mega-developments Lincoln Yards and The 78.

Because these two developments have enormous catalytic potential for Chicago’s residents and economy, more time is needed to prudently, equitably and transparently review them.

Because Lincoln Yards and The 78 have enormous catalytic potential for Chicago’s residents and economy, more time is needed to prudently, equitably and transparently review them.

In MPC’s 2018 Roadmap for a more equitable Chicago, we called on government, non-profits, business and philanthropy to embrace a racial equity framework in decision-making. Recently, a coalition of community and civic organizations began a Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) of the Lincoln Yards and 78 TIFs; the results of this assessment should be taken into account in the project design and its funding sources. Given that these projects will indelibly change Chicago’s landscape and require substantial public dollars for decades to come, the REIA needs to be carried out thoughtfully and consideration should be given to its specific, data-driven recommendations with broad-based community and civic input—the very ingredients that have been left out of too many planning and development decisions in Chicago for far too long.

Done right, Lincoln Yards and The 78 could together make a multi-generational investment in affordable housing, open space, transformation of the river edge and mass transit. Questions remain, however, about affordable housing commitments, management of open space, transportation systems within and adjacent to these developments, and more. Questions also remain about minority and women-owned business recruitment and workforce development strategies to ensure that underrepresented Chicagoans are prepared to seize new employment opportunities.

Done right, Lincoln Yards and The 78 could together make a multi-generational investment in affordable housing, open space, transformation of the river edge and mass transit.

MPC calls on City Council to heed both the Mayor and Mayor-elect’s call for more time, and defer this decision until the Lightfoot Administration is in place, has fully vetted both projects and their associated financing, and has worked with community stakeholders and development teams to lay out a new timeline for moving these projects forward equitably and transparently.  

MPC supports development that is planned thoughtfully and transparently, and that prioritizes racially equitable impacts. The Lightfoot Administration and a new City Council need time to seed a proactive culture of planning to ensure that future development unites the city and region in a shared and more equitable future.

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