Chicago, like most cities, does not have a long and successful track record of including residents within past planning processes. Many of Chicago’s plans were created by government officials or the business community, with very little public input. Along the way to implementation, many plans faced significant opposition from community members. This history has sowed distrust within the city on what planning can and should be.
Collective planning is a tool for residents and stakeholders to co-create a vision for their city, a plan for funding projects, and solutions to implement the shared vision. It’s a trust-building exercise between government and residents as they set the future together.
That's why in autumn 2020, the City of Chicago launched a three-year, citywide planning process, "We Will Chicago." As part of the pre-planning process, MPC—in partnership with the Department of Planning and Development—hosted a workshop series to create recommendations to ensure that community input is baked into every step of this city planning process, even step one. Process is important: it's not a citywide vision if the Chicago's residents don't build the vision together.
Creating a city that works for everyone is possible when we engage community residents, civic institutions, and the private sector to coalesce around shared priorities and new opportunities.