A History of Equity and Inclusion - Metropolitan Planning Council

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A History of Equity and Inclusion

Chicagoland doesn’t work unless it works for all of us. 2018 highlights included a detailed Roadmap for more equitable region, to the relaunch of a successful affordable housing initiative, to reasonable restrictions on aldermanic power, to new and exciting cultural partnerships. Our motto is “be bold” and many are taking note of our groundbreaking approach toward tackling disinvestment and racism.

Our report was estimated to have reached more than 480 million people across the U.S.

Chicagoans now have a Roadmap on how to achieve this, thanks to our May 2018 release of Our Equitable Future, 27 policy recommendations to advance racial equity, developed in partnership with more than 100 advisors. Our Equitable Future complements the Cost of Segregation, our 2017 research with Urban Institute that quantified the steep price Chicagoans pay to live so separately by race and income. While the Cost of Segregation delivered a wake-up call, Our Equitable Future outlines a path forward. And people listened and learned: Since 2017, over 600 stories featuring this work were published in media outlets including the Economist, the New York Times, CNN, Forbes, Ebony, and National Public Radio. Cumulatively, our report was estimated to have reached more than 480 million people across the U.S.

A quality, affordable home is often the first step toward building the health and wealth that all deserve. That’s why MPC fights for housing choices from a number of angles. In partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services and The Resurrection Project, we developed recommendations to reenact New Homes for Chicago, first launched in 1990 by the City of Chicago to provide low- and moderate-income working families with the opportunity to buy high-quality new houses. In June we celebrated as the City announced its New Homes-inspired pilot. As Our Equitable Future recommendations capture, homeownership incentives like these are an essential first step on the ladder toward wealth building, especially in systemically disinvested neighborhoods.

At MPC we maintain pressure on inequitable practices—whether or not they’re making the evening news.

We are all painfully accustomed to seeing maps of Chicago that reveal our entrenched segregation by race and income. Digging deeper, we find something obscured by these familiar images: the inequitable distribution of affordable homes across our city. That’s why MPC Vice President Marisa Novara and partners worked closely with Alderman Ameya Pawar to draft the Affordable Housing Equity Ordinance, which establishes limits on aldermanic prerogative for affordable housing in areas that lack it. The ordinance earned 27 supporters, and the practice behind it was rocketed into the limelight with allegations of corruption and proposals for reform throughout the 2019 aldermanic election cycle. At MPC we maintain pressure on inequitable practices—whether or not they’re making the evening news.

In 2018, community members connected with big ideas and each other at our equity- and inclusion-relate­d public events. In conjunction with the Loyola University Museum of Art, we convened a conversation between urban designer Paola Aguirre and artist Tonika Lewis Johnson, whose famed Folded Map photography connects “map twins,” residents who live at corresponding addresses on Chicago’s North and South Sides. We hosted Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, which introduces youth to new experiences and places in Chicago—in conversation with Darryl Holiday of City Bureau, a civic media organization based on Chicago’s South Side. On the 55th anniversary of the ‘63 Boycott, in which over 250,000 Chicago Public Schools students walked out of their classrooms in order to protest racial segregation, we hosted a sold-out screening and discussion with the filmmakers.

Read more in MPC's 2018 Annual Report.


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Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

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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