MPC’s policy development, implementation, and advocacy work is informed by five issue-oriented committees:
Housing & Community Development
Land Use and Planning
The purpose of the committees is to provide leadership and counsel on work plan activities, policy formation, outreach, and other activities that advance short and long-term goals of the organization.
Housing & Community Development
This committee focuses on policies and projects that address inequities in affordable housing provision and investments in community development across the region. This includes expanding affordable housing opportunities in job-rich areas, revitalizing disinvested communities through strategies to increase economic competitiveness, and pursuing more efficient and equitable allocation of government (municipal, state, public housing authority) resources to provide individuals with greater choice in where to live and work.
This committee is co-chaired by Amy Khare, Research Director, National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities, and Pamela Daniels-Halisi, Managing Director of Community Development Lending, BMO Harris Bank. MPC staff liaison for this committee is Kendra Freeman, Director of Community Engagement and Ahmadou Drame, Manager of Housing and Community Development.
Land Use and Planning
Through the improvement of current processes focusing on better planning and land-use decisions, local governments and agencies can actively chart the region’s future and determine investments to prioritize, based on agreed-upon goals and objectives, that can catalyze inclusive and sustainable economic growth. This committee will advise on the advocacy framework and research needed to understand how land-use policy shapes development and what is needed to align land use and planning challenges and solutions into a comprehensive vision.
This committee is co-chaired by Alejandra Garza, founder and President, AGG Consulting and Paul Carlisle, Executive Vice President, Wintrust Commercial Banking. MPC staff liaison for this committee is Christina Harris, Director of Land Use and Planning.
Mobility is a human right. Universal access to a multimodal, affordable, safe, reliable and efficient transportation system is a necessary condition to exercising that right. In our region, transportation plays a key role in economic and environmental sustainability. The Metropolitan Planning Council’s transportation program uses research and advocacy to sustain and improve that system, while ensuring that mobility outcomes are equitable across race, age, income and disability. The Metropolitan Planning Council Transportation Committee supports MPC staff with information, expertise, and professional connections.
This committee is co-chaired by Tom Kotarac, Vice President, Transportation and Infrastructure, Civic Committee, Paula Worthington, Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago- Harris School, and Manny Flores, CEO & President, SomerCor. MPC staff liaisons for this committee are Audrey Wennink, Director of Transportation, and Jeremy Glover, Associate.
Northeastern Illinois’ proximity to the abundant resources of the Great Lakes and access to multiple rivers and underground aquifers mean that we generally enjoy ample water. While our region’s water assets are considerable, they are also finite—in the case of Lake Michigan, governed by a Supreme Court Decree—and are facing a multitude of challenges due to infrastructure age, fragmented system management, and potential contamination. As climate change advances, shorter duration but increasingly intense and more frequent storm events—much of which cannot infiltrate nor evapotranspirate because of storm intensity and urban land use decisions—overwhelm stormwater infrastructure which is undersized and aging. The result is negative impacts for humans, aquatic ecosystems, and the ecosystem services they provide from Chicago to the Mississippi River and beyond. These realities jeopardize both public health and economic growth.
In response to these challenges, the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Water Resources program uses research, advocacy, education and technical assistance to: 1) ensure clean, equitable and abundant drinking water; 2) prevent flooding and improve water quality; 3) facilitate and encourage stewardship of our natural assets; and 4) foster social, economic and environmental benefits within communities.The Metropolitan Planning Council’s Water Resources Committee supports these efforts through information, expertise, guidance, and professional connections.
This committee is co-chaired by Manju Sharma, Senior Vice President, SPAAN TECH, and Suzanne Malec-McKenna. MPC staff liaisons for this committee is Josh Ellis, Vice President.
Alana Ward Robinson
Effective government is necessary for every individual to thrive. Effective is more than a measure of efficiency, but also entails accountability, innovation and openness to being shaped by active, informed residents. Moreover, government structures are not monoliths, but must adapt and change to meet the needs of society, the economy and our ecosystems.
MPC’s Effective Government program enhances the capacity of local units of government throughout Chicagoland to operate effectively, innovate and evolve. MPC’s work includes researching and communicating the ramifications of Illinois’ overwhelming number of government bodies and advocating for government streamlining measures that won’t compromise services for residents.
MPC’s Effective Government Committee supports MPC staff with information, expertise, guidance, and professional connections to achieve the goals of this program.
This committee is co-chaired by Hill Hammock, Chair of the Cook County Health Board, and Alana Ward Robinson, President, Robinson Group Consulting, Inc. MPC staff liaisons for this committee is Josh Ellis, Vice President.