Planning for Green and Healthy Chicago Neighborhoods
Among Chicago's greatest strengths is the diversity and vibrancy of its neighborhoods. Like a number of Midwestern cities, however, a few Chicago neighborhoods are faced with multiple challenges, including a crippled housing market, lack of employment opportunities, and many years of population decline. The results of these conditions are apparent in a number of Chicago community areas that once were densely populated and lively but now suffer from high vacancy and unemployment with little relief predicted in the foreseeable future. Today, in light of vastly different economic and market conditions, public and private interests need a road map for how to invest in these neighborhoods to make the most efficient and effective improvements.
The City of Chicago, its partners, and the residents and business owners of these neighborhoods are engaging in a project to create plans and policies that will guide decision-making and investments for years to come. Englewood, Woodlawn, and Washington Park make up the priority areas of a new project called Green Healthy Neighborhoods (GHN), which is intended to better target public and private investments in the most efficient and effective way. CMAP provides staff planning support through its Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program.
This LTA-supported project will examine a variety of models for neighborhood reinvestment that build on existing assets as catalysts for broader investment and redevelopment. Fortunately, the residents, business owners, and other stakeholders have been meeting for years and planning to address these challenges through a variety of projects and initiatives.
For example, LISC/Chicago's New Communities Program has been working for many years to create and implement quality-of-life plans. These plans outline strategies for improvement in areas such as housing, urban agriculture, and the re-purposing of vacant land for a variety of uses. The new Kennedy-King College and Washburn Culinary Institute, at 63rd and Halsted, represents over $200 million investment by the City of Chicago. In Woodlawn, the Grove Park redevelopment project is bringing new, affordable green housing to the area around 63rd Street and Cottage Grove. The Wood Street Farm, a Growing Home project at 58th and Wood, is focused on growing healthy produce and providing training and transitional employment for area residents. Near the Green Line station at 51st and Prairie, Urban Juncture is leading a project to create a unique produce market, dining destination, and culinary incubator celebrating the cuisines, cultures, and communities of peoples of African descent.
These projects represent a new beginning for these neighborhoods, and one of the new faces of urban development. As a result, these communities already have a great deal of momentum moving toward a better future.
Green Healthy Neighborhoods Draft Existing Conditions Summary
- Draft Goals
- Symposium Discussion Notes
- Existing Conditions Data
- Existing Conditions Maps
- Case Studies
- Complete Draft Report
Draft Strategy Recommendations
- Green Infrastructure Strategy
- Historic Resources Strategy
- Industrial Strategy
- Land Use & Housing Strategy
- Parks & Trail Strategy
- Productive Landscape Strategy
- Retail Strategy
Draft Land Use Plan Recommendations & Renderings
Green Healthy Neighborhoods in the News
"Chicago's urban farm district could be the biggest in the nation", Grist, November 2012
"Englewood To Become Urban Farming Showcase?", Chicagoist, November 2012
"Chicago Urban Farms Initiative: Englewood Could Become Major Agribusiness Hub", Huffington Post, November 2012
"Green belt envisioned for South Side", WBEZ 91.5, November 2012
"New South Side Plan: From Vacant Land to "Productive Landscapes", LISC Chicago, November 2012
"Harvesting Hope: Englewood's Urban Farm Hires Ex Offenders", Medill Reports Chicago, December 2012
with additional support from
Sandra Womack, Senior Program Officer, LISC Chicago (email@example.com or 312-422-9561)
Brandon Johnson, Executive Director, Washington Park Consortium (firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-324-7592)
Wendy Walker Williams, Executive Director, South East Chicago Commission (email@example.com or 773-324-6926)
Jeanne Chandler, City of Chicago Department of Housing & Economic Development (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-774-0605)
Kendra Smith, CMAP Associate-Outreach & Community Engagement (email@example.com or 312-386-8774)
The LTA home page has details of activities sponsored by the HUD Sustainable Communities grant to CMAP for support of community projects that advance the principles of GO TO 2040. Planning assistance and grants for local projects across metropolitan Chicago are now available through the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Community Planning Program and CMAP Local Technical Assistance Program at www.rtachicago.com/applications.
An interactive map of local case studies describes projects and people that exemplify the goals and objectives of GO TO 2040.
CMAP's Local Ordinances and Toolkits program provides resources to municipalities interested in pursuing policies that are aligned with GO TO 2040 recommendations.