MPC Vice President Novara Named Chicago Housing Commissioner - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC Vice President Novara Named Chicago Housing Commissioner

Chicago, IL—Mayor-elect Lightfoot announced today that Marisa Novara, Vice President of the Metropolitan Planning Council, will serve as the Commissioner for the Department of Housing. Novara will join the administration on June 3rd to lead the city’s breadth of housing initiatives that support the needs of affordable renters and buyers in Chicago. She will be the first Commissioner in ten years of a newly reconstituted department, overseeing the application of a racial equity framework and the build-out of its first Policy and Research Division. 

Marisa joined MPC in 2011 and has directed its housing and community development work, delivering technical assistance and shaping policy changes that support communities facing a range of challenges. She was also the architect of the multi-year Cost of Segregation initiative which garnered national attention and sparked the creation of an equity and inclusion “Roadmap,” two dozen policy recommendations that reduce disparities and inequities by race and income.  

“Marisa has been an invaluable member of MPC’s family for nearly a decade,” said MarySue Barrett, President of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “She has driven courageous conversations around issues of race and equity that have transformed not only the Chicago region, but our organization. Her leadership made MPC stronger and better positioned to make positive change that benefits everyone.”

Ellen Carnahan, Board Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Council reflected, “Marisa’s enormous impact on the city and the region took root at MPC and will expand at the City of Chicago. Her innovative work on the Cost of Segregation not only changed perceptions and conversations, but it’s changing the status quo. We are very proud of her and look forward to working with her and with Chicago’s new mayor.”

About MPC: Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth.


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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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