This Thanksgiving, thank you. You help us build a better, bolder future for everyone - Metropolitan Planning Council

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This Thanksgiving, thank you. You help us build a better, bolder future for everyone

We have a lot to be thankful for in 2019, so thank you, we can't build a better, bolder future without you.

Image courtesy Bhargava Marripati via Pexels

From community gatherings that convened disparate voices to enact tangible change, to landmark legislature that brought MPC policy recommendations to life, 2019 was a big year. As we look back at what we've accomplished, we feel gratitude for all the ways you've helped the Chicago region. From your thought partnership, attendance at our events, engagement in volunteer activities, and generous donations, we're making Chicagoland better together. So thank you, we can't build a better, bolder future without you.

A better, bolder, more affordable Chicago region.

"For over two years, my colleagues and I have been researching and advocating for more equitable water rates and programs to ensure all community members have access to safe drinking water from their tap. Based-off our collective advocacy, the City of Chicago announced the creation of a new Utility Billing Relief program, which will, among other benefits, provide low-income residents with a 50% reduced rate on their total water bill. I am thankful for this much-needed program as an important first step in addressing the significant equity issues related to water service." – Danielle Gallet, MPC Director

Based-off our collective advocacy, the City of Chicago announced the creation of a new Utility Billing Relief program, which will, among other benefits, provide low-income residents with a 50% reduced rate on their total water bill.

– Danielle Gallet, MPC Director

A better, bolder, more transparent and inclusive Chicago region.

'This fall, the City of Chicago took steps towards needed inclusion and transparency. From my seat, I can see this most clearly in the Department of Housing’s recent efforts around the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). I’m of course grateful to serve as Co-Chair of an ARO Task Force charged with examining and proposing changes to the ARO, and even more excited to be part of a transparent and inclusive process for shaping the task force itself – through an open call for applications from anyone in the City to join. Plus, the City’s new interactive ARO Dashboard makes data about the program’s performance more accessible and transparent. These changes to standard ways of government operations are both needed and welcome, and set up a good foundation for better policy moving forward." – Juan Sebastian Arias, MPC Manager

Over the past few months, my colleagues and I have been engaging residents of East Garfield Park for the Preserving Affordability Together pilot initiative. Hundreds of residents have actively participated in shaping the future of their community...

– Debbie Liu, MPC Associate

A better, bolder, ­more transit-friendly Chicago region.

"We are thrilled that in 2019, the Illinois Legislature passed an infrastructure funding bill that provides dedicated revenue for capital investments in the transit system... for the first time! This means better maintenance of our extensive transit system so buses and trains can run more reliably!" – Audrey Wennink, MPC Director

A better, bolder, more sustainable Chicago region.

"This year, MPC and its partners launched a peer-to-peer learning exchange and local technical assistance program called the Drinking Water 1-2-3 Academy to assist communities with implementing best practices from our Drinking Water 1-2-3 guide. We partnered with local community leaders and experts across all industries to provide education and training, peer-to-peer networking, and on-the-ground implementation projects so that communities are equipped to provide safe, clean drinking water now and into the future. The events were extremely successful, and, as we close out the year, we are excited to transition to the Technical Assistance phase of the Drinking Water 1-2-3 Academy, through which we will help implement best practices from the Drinking Water 1-2-3 guide in up to three communities selected in 2020." – Justin Keller, MPC Associate

This year, MPC and its partners launched a peer-to-peer learning exchange and local technical assistance program called the Drinking Water 1-2-3 Academy to assist communities with implementing best practices from our Drinking Water 1-2-3 guide.

– Justin Keller, MPC Associate

A better, bolder, more accessible region.

"I’m thankful for our region’s fantastic transit system, which provides affordable and reliable transportation for many residents. But for those with limited mobility, such as people with disabilities and older adults, our system doesn’t always meet their needs. That’s why MPC has spent the past year working on a new report: Toward Universal Mobility: Charting a Path to Improve Transportation Accessibility. As we approach the report’s release and roundtable discussion with transportation and accessibility experts, I’m excited to start working with policymakers and stakeholders from across the region to turn our recommendations into a reality." – Jeremy Glover, MPC Associate

A better, bolder, ­­more community-driven Chicago region.

"Over the past few months, my colleagues and I have been engaging residents of East Garfield Park for the Preserving Affordability Together pilot initiative. Hundreds of residents have actively participated in shaping the future of their community through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and town halls. Preserving Affordability Together is an initiative in partnership with the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University and Garfield Park Community Council to use a data-informed, equitable approach to identify collective community development priorities. With the new community coalition in formation, I am excited to facilitate the follow up process in East Garfield Park as well as identify the next community we'll work with to replicate this process." – Debbie Liu, MPC Associate

As we approach the [Toward Universal Mobility] report release and roundtable discussion with transportation and accessibility experts, I’m excited to start working with policymakers and stakeholders from across the region to turn our recommendations into a reality."

– Jeremy Glover, MPC Associate

A better, bolder, more ­­effectively governed Chicago region.

"For the past year, MPC and the Transform Illinois coalition have been pushing for more effective government. Among other initiatives, school district reform around shared services and consolidation has moved forward, as have discussions about property tax reform. Earlier this year, we published a piece about shared administrative services for school districts and were asked to testify for the Senate Education Committee and the Property Tax Relief Task force about the issue. As a result, Senator Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) introduced a bill to consolidate all school districts in Illinois into unit districts that combine elementary and high school districts. In early October, Transform Illinois also hosted a bipartisan discussion about school reform and property tax issues. I am excited for lawmakers to craft balanced solutions to more equitably tax our citizens for high quality services." – Adam Slade, MPC Associate

Among other initiatives, school district reform around shared services and consolidation has moved forward, as have discussions about property tax reform.

– Adam Slade, MPC Associate

A better, bolder, ­­more engaged Chicago region.

"In my three months since joining MPC, I have seen the passion of my colleagues, for both their areas of expertise and for their neighbors, exemplified through their work ethic. They consistently go above and beyond to ensure that all stakeholders are heard, all partners are involved, and that the best possible ideas see the light of day. Through their community outreach, their support at our in-house events, and team involvement with external programming, I can see that my colleagues truly care about bettering the Chicago region. I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside them and make my own small contribution in support of the team here at MPC." – Andres Recillas, MPC Manager

All of us at MPC are thankful to work with the many people and partners who join us in our mission of shaping a region that is more equitable, more sustainable, more prosperous and more joyful. This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for you!

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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