Housing is the cornerstone of healthy communities. CMAP's initiatives seek to integrate housing into our long range comprehensive planning processes as well as to be responsive to current housing market conditions. The CMAP Board's Strategic Report on Visioning, Governance, and Funding calls for the agency to address housing issues as part of the overall comprehensive plan, particularly addressing housing conditions, type, affordability, and location. To meet regional priorities, the location, availability, and affordability of housing needs to balance with that of jobs, access to transportation, and protection of open space and natural resources. The escalating costs of housing force some families to move farther from employment centers to seek out reasonably priced housing options , even though such savings may be partially or even completely offset by the increased transportation expenses of longer commutes. CMAP seeks to explore sound policy decisions that assure residents of northeastern Illinois safe, decent and affordable places to live. Here is CMAP's Housing Fact Sheet which includes a set of housing principles.
Given the current housing market crisis, CMAP has been involved in several initiatives that aim to provide communities with the tools they need to be responsive to foreclosures within their communities. CMAP has hosted several workshops and conferences, and initiated several projects aimed at addressing these issues. Examples include:
Municipal strategies for addressing the vacant buildings. In March 2010, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus released a new guidebook highlighting municipal strategies for addressing the vacant buildings left behind by foreclosure. "How Can Municipalities Confront the Vacant Property Challenge?" helps communities address a crisis that is almost without precedent. As they struggle through the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, municipalities face an enormous increase in the number of vacant properties. This introductory guide provides a brief overview of nine tools that have proven most effective as municipalities have worked to reduce the negative impact of vacant properties, stabilize neighborhoods, and promote healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. It is intended to help municipalities begin to determine which programs and policies are most appropriate for them. A companion guidebook, "How Can Municipalities Confront the Vacant Property Challenge? A Toolkit," can be accessed on the website. The guide helps municipalities develop and implement the programs and policies, providing more detailed information about how to put these tools into use. The Toolkit also discusses best practices and provides links to additional resources.
Chicago Region Retrofit Ramp-Up Program. CMAP believes that building retrofits can have an enormous impact on reducing housing cost burden for the region's families, and in preserving our affordable housing stock. The Chicago Region Retrofit Ramp-Up (CR3) program, a regional collaboration led by CMAP – in partnership with the Cities of Chicago and Rockford, and suburban and regional stakeholders – was awarded $25 million to transform the market for carrying out energy-efficient retrofits to commercial and residential buildings in northeastern Illinois. The grant was awarded through the competitive ARRA Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Retrofit Ramp-Up stimulus initiative (now known as the BetterBuildings Initiative). CR3 is a major implementation priority identified in the GO TO 2040 plan and accelerates the implementation of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Over the three-year grant CR3 is expected to retrofit as many as 8,000 units, leverage more than $500 million in local investments, and create more than 2,000 jobs.
After the Shock: Preparing for the New Housing Market. In 2009, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Chicago Metropolis 2020, the Urban Land Institute, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning co-hosted an event titled "After the Shock: Preparing for the New Housing Market" at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The event brought together over one hundred people and was an important opportunity for municipal officials to engage in a direct dialogue with representatives from the development and financial communities about the future of the housing market. CMAP and it's partners will continue this dialogue focusing on developing tangible strategies that municipalities can take in dealing with the housing market crisis.
Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI). In response to the housing market crisis, the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative was launched in 2008, by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, and The Chicago Community Trust to strengthen partnerships and strategies among key stakeholders from across the region. Regional HOPI is a network of organizations working collaboratively to address the foreclosure crisis in order to develop and implement more coordinated and robust regional responses. Four task forces meet regularly to identify and prioritize problems and solutions: Housing Action Illinois is leading the effort in coordinating counseling services, Neighborhood Housing Services in finance and capacity building, the Woodstock Institute in data and research, and a partnership of Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, CMAP, Metropolitan Planning Council, and Chicago Metropolis 2020 in vacant and abandoned building mitigation efforts.
Inter-jurisdictional Coordination. Recognizing that the housing challenges facing our communities and the foreclosure trends devastating many families and neighborhoods do not adhere to municipal boundaries, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus with support from the Chicago Community Trust and CMAP have been helping to pilot a strategy for approaching housing work through inter-jurisdictional coordination. Mayors want to create a sustainable approach to such coordination, forming an entity with the capacity to leverage private and public sector resources to increase the quality, quantity and sustainability of housing options. This effort has begun with two groups of communities, one in South Cook County and one in West Cook County, where foreclosures have taken a particular toll. These inter-jurisdictional collaborations, along with those beginning in the North Shore and Northwest Cook County, will serve as models for other municipalities in the region and beyond. The partnership is helping communities recognize and unleash the benefits of working together across governmental borders to tackle shared challenges.
"Taking Action: Local Government Strategies to Mitigate the Impact of Foreclosures on Communities". On May 6, 2008, CMAP, MMC, and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted a conference to discuss how foreclosures affect communities, and to learn about strategies that have been implemented at the local and regional level to lessen the negative impacts of vacant buildings. "Taking Action: Local Government Strategies to Mitigate the Impact of Foreclosures on Communities" brought together more than 100 representatives from municipalities, county governments, and the housing and development field to share their experiences, successes, and challenges when facing the foreclosure crisis. Foreclosures affect more than just those who do lose their homes. The ramifications can be felt in the surrounding neighborhood, the community as a whole, and even the larger metropolitan region. This conference was a good start to the regional discussion about how we can work together to get through this difficult period. View a recap of the event and a list of foreclosure resources.
Below are descriptions of other CMAP activities to integrate housing into planning at the regional and local levels.
Return On Investment Tool. CMAP is currently developing a new tool for municipal planners known as the Return on Investment tool (ROI). The ROI tool is designed to assist municipalities in understanding the numbers behind the development process, and is based on the same tools that investors and developers use to evaluate a development's feasibility. The ROI Model allows communities to determine whether their existing land use regulations allow development in which the returns outweigh the associated costs and risks for the developer, helping to identify which regulations need to be modified to achieve the type of development desired by the municipality. ROI can also aid municipal staff in their evaluation of proposed developments currently under review.
Corridor Development Initiative. CMAP has partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Council in the Corridor Development Initiative, an innovative participatory planning process that allows communities to assess and proactively plan for real world development scenarios. In this three-part planning process, community members are actively engaged in weighing all of the various options that go into development decision making. The initiative helps to educate participants on issues such as density, affordable housing, architectural design and the true cost of development along the way. Rather than simply reacting to a developer's proposal, communities learn to attract development that fits a local vision. This process has been piloted in three Chicago neighborhoods: Logan Square, North Lawndale and Hyde Park. To learn more about CDI, watch a YouTube video posted by MPC, describing the recent Lawndale Corridor Development Initiative activities. CMAP intends to continue their partnership with MPC on this initiative, and to expand CDI to new communities.
Housing 1-2-3. CMAP supported the efforts of the Metropolitan Planning Council in the production of Housing 1-2-3. Housing 1-2-3 is a step-by-step guidebook designed to make the complex issues of planning, developing, preserving, and managing housing more understandable for municipalities and real estate professionals. The housing market expands and contracts, but the need for a diverse housing stock remains constant. Housing is one of the most basic needs in our society. A balanced housing strategy supports a wide range of quality options for people of every age, household composition, race, or income level. However, all too often, communities lack housing diversity. Beyond the question of equity, a lack of housing options has significant economic impacts – workers cannot live near their jobs, congestion increases, and retail dollars are spent elsewhere. This book will help your community plan for and invest in a diverse housing stock, whatever the market and wherever the community.
Full Circle Community Mapping and Planning Project. CMAP's Full Circle community planning and mapping project began in Spring 2004. Community-based organizations and municipalities participate in creating detailed maps of their neighborhoods, and in planning future development. Full Circle allows housing development practitioners to collect a multitude of data for decision support purposes. For example, a municipality might want to measure density around a transit-oriented development or a community development corporation might want to track vacant lots for potential infill development. Web technologies enable both the data-gathering and planning phases.
Chicago Area Housing & Community Development Website. The Greater Chicago Housing and Community Development Website is designed to guide and assist policy makers, housing/community development professionals, planners, researchers, developers and people seeking to buy or rent a home. The website makes available a wealth of data and information about the housing environment in Chicago and other communities throughout the region.
Jobs & Housing Balance Snapshot. As part of the development of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive planning process, CMAP is producing a series of Snapshot reports. The intent of these reports is to get a bird's eye view on everything that is currently happening in the region. The report will explore policy questions such as, ‘What can be done to stimulate job creation near affordable housing centers?' or ‘What can be done to stimulate affordable housing creation near job centers?' The report is currently in progress.
Inclusionary Zoning Strategy Paper. As part of the regional comprehensive plan's scenario development process, and under the direction of the housing team, CMAP explored various inclusionary zoning housing policies and developed a strategy paper. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of possible inclusionary zoning (IZ) policies in the northeastern Illinois region. The paper proceeds as follows: first, it defines inclusionary zoning and reviews how it has been implemented in other cities and regions throughout the U.S.. Second, it explores the existing conditions of affordable housing in northeastern Illinois. Third, it examines how an inclusionary zoning policy in northeastern Illinois could influence affordable housing development locally and regionally, and evaluates the impacts of these changes for municipalities and the region as whole.
Regulatory Barriers Strategy Paper. As part of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive planning process, and under the direction of the housing team, CMAP explored various regulatory barriers to building affordable housing and developed a strategy paper. The report intends to better determine how development regulations shape the housing stock and in turn, affects the health and vitality of the region. The paper outlines major regulatory barriers that drive up housing cost, adding to the housing affordability problem.
Housing Preservation Strategy Paper. As part of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive planning process, CMAP explores several strategies and the many dimensions of housing preservation and developed a strategy paper. CMAP's definition of housing preservation includes all actions that maximize the utility of the region's pre-existing housing stock to make a variety of housing options available to families at all income levels. It therefore embraces values inherent in both historic preservation and affordable housing preservation. Research shows that preserving and maintaining existing and older housing stock has benefits to the region's economy, community character, health and environment. The strategy report describes current trends and conditions in the housing market and explores housing preservation strategies that make sense within this context.