Economic development and growth have been in our media and on our minds over the last several weeks in Chicago.

OECD Sec. Gen. Angel Gurria, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and U.S. Sec. of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at a news conference during the March 8 OECD roundtable in Chicago.

Economic development and growth have been in our media and on our minds over the last several weeks in Chicago. On Feb. 29, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and World Business Chicago released a Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, which identifies 10 “mutually reinforcing” strategies for growth. The very next day President Bill Clinton joined the mayor to introduce a $1.7 billion Infrastructure Trust. Then, on March 8 and 9, the internationally renowned Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) came to town and released a Territorial Review of Chicago, its first in the United States.

Where We Stand

Seperately, each of these reports illustrates the Chicago region’s strengths and challenges; collectively, they represent a loud and clear wake-up call. Our economy was on a downward trend long before the recession. The transportation infrastructure Chicago was built upon has been crumbling for decades and can no longer meet our needs. And, according to OECD, government dysfunction is only making things worse.
But, there is hope. As long as we heed these calls.
MPC expanded its agenda beyond Chicago city limits decades before most people had even heard the word “regionalism.” It was heartening to see OECD call for tri-state regional solutions, not simply for the sake of it, but because it’s an economic necessity. MPC believes strongly our region spans across our borders into Southeast Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana, where we are actively at work. World Business Chicago’s plan doesn’t try to have all the answers, but opens the door for all sectors – private, civic, public, manufacturing, logistics – to work together to find them. We agree, that’s one key to success. We’re optimistic Mayor Emanuel’s Infrastructure Trust will be a model all the way up to the federal level.

Project Progress Report: Bringing Retail to Bronzeville

On April 21, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) will host its first public meeting on the Bronzeville Retail Land Use Plan. As part of its Local Technical Assistance program, CMAP will work throughout 2012 with the Bronzeville Retail Initiative team and a steering committee representing business owners, residents, elected officials and other stakeholders in the near South Side community to finalize a land use plan for three corridors: 43rd, 47th and 51st streets. At the meeting, MPC will release Developing Vibrant Retail in Bronzeville, which assesses the neighborhood’s existing retail market and its growth potential, and identifies strategies to support coordinated retail planning, retention, and recruitment. MPC has been working with Bronzeville Alliance, a coalition of local community organizations, over the last year.
MPC’s partnership with Bronzeville is an extension of Reconnecting Neighborhoods, a partnership since 2007 between the City of Chicago, Regional Transportation Authority, the consulting firm HNTB, and MPC’s Community Building Initiative, to advance retail, transit and pedestrian improvements in Chicago Housing Authority Plan for Transformation communities in Chicago’s Mid-South, Near West, and Near North sides.

MPC Headlines

Housing + Community Development Infrastructure
Re-Connection is MPC's monthly e-newsletter. Tell us what you think.
Copyright © 2012 Metropolitan Planning Council, All rights reserved.
E-mail design by Webitects