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Human Relations

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GO TO 2040's vision is for all barriers based upon racial, social, or economic segregation to vanish within the next thirty years. The region will grow stronger as it takes a firm stance on equality, as all residents share equally in the benefits of investment, housing support, workforce development, and all other programs regardless of background.

In coordination with an advisory committee of regional experts, the Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has prepared general recommendations for actions to improve human relations within the long-term context of the GO TO 2040 plan. The recommendations cover:

  • Race conscious planning and policymaking

  • Human relations commissions

  • Appropriate school curricula

  • Neighborhood conflict resolution groups

  • Diverse social interactions

A report that provides more details on these recommendations is forthcoming and will be posted in this space when available; an executive summary is currently available.

Effect of physical planning decisions on human relations

  • The purpose of the questions below is to understand how today's planning policy and investment decisions – covering transportation, land use, housing, economic development, and the natural environment – might affect human relations in our region in 2040.

How would human relations be affected by different economic development policies: focusing on investments in human capital (improving the region's workforce); infrastructure (investing in physical infrastructure such as transportation facilities); or innovation (including but not limited to technological innovation)?

  • Economic profiles that provide good job opportunities for people without advanced education would have the most positive impacts. Regardless of the economic focus of the region, employment discrimination makes it difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to contribute to our economy and must be addressed. This will be an increasingly important issue as the workforce of our region continues to diversify.

How would human relations be affected by different transportation investment alternatives: focusing on major infrastructure investments (road or rail expansions); low-capital operational improvements (improved bus service, sidewalks, and trails); or technology (including real-time information or improved traffic signal timings)?

  • Investments that improve public transportation, and particularly connections to disinvested areas, will lead to improvements in human relations, regardless of whether these are operational or capital-based improvements. The effect of transportation investments on areas with particular concentrations of low-income or minority residents should be specifically considered.

How would human relations be affected by different land use policies: focusing on dense, infill development; moderate densities with emphasis on community-centered design; or low-density new development?

  • Overall, higher densities and opportunities for interaction in public spaces improve human relations, as contact between racial and ethnic groups is increased. New development can bring more economic prosperity to underinvested areas, but this must be done carefully. Displacement of current residents, which often happens in redevelopment projects, must be avoided or mitigated. Any land use change should be evaluated in the context of how it affects racial and ethnic minorities and low-income people, and this is among the key recommendations on this issue.

How would human relations be affected by housing policies: preserving existing affordable housing; creating new affordable housing near transit and jobs; or reducing housing costs through energy efficiency improvements?

  • Providing affordable housing through any means is important, and so is reducing housing discrimination, which often makes racial and ethnic minorities incur higher housing costs or have less housing choice than they should.

  • Housing policies that promote accessibility of housing across the region to residents regardless of disability, age, family status, or other factors would also promote human relations.

Direct links between environmental and energy policies and human relations were not identified.

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