With the metropolitan region of Chicago stretching beyond the borders of Illinois into Indiana and Wisconsin, Kevin is the ideal individual to be participating in Chicago's regional planning. Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, Kevin did his undergraduate studies at Northwestern then held professional positions in Indiana and Wisconsin. In the fall of 2006, Kevin enrolled at Wisconsin pursuing not only a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, but also a Masters of Public Administration, plus a certificate in Transportation Management and Policy. Amazingly, he finished it in three years.
What attracted you to the Phillip D. Peters Regional Planning Fellowship Program?
I am a strong believer in regional governance and the opportunity to work in Chicago — an area I had lived in for over four years — was appealing. The opportunity to select the projects that I was involved with at CMAP also appealed to me.
What kinds of projects did you work on during your fellowship? What benefit do you believe they contributed the Northeastern Illinois region?
I worked on drafting the Public Transportation Strategy Report for GO TO 2040. I also spent time working on public input sessions that were conducted for the Regional Indicators Project.
How did the Fellowship help to shape your career path and ambition?
Working at CMAP reconfirmed my belief that regional governance is important, particularly for transportation issues. While working there, I was able to see a lot of the dysfunction stemming from our heavily fragmented planning system. It motivated me to work for an organization that approaches planning with more of a big picture focus.
What did you find to be special about CMAP (or NIPC)?
I liked that CMAP was a regional agency looking at the big picture. In addition, there is value in combining different practitioners and fields under one roof, allowing better collaboration and integration of ideas that fit together.
What makes the Northeastern Illinois region a special place to work as a regional planner (or related field)?
Chicago is a world-class city surrounded by many great communities. The huge number of municipalities in the area makes it an ideal location for regional planning.
What are you doing professionally now?
I live in Madison, Wisconsin and am the lead planner for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. I work on advocacy issues throughout the state and perform consulting work for municipalities including producing bicycle plans.
Why is regional planning an important function in a metropolitan region?
Regional planning is critical because so many services and planning functions provided by municipalities do not stop at their borders. Transportation, environmental issues, public safety, and other areas are all best handled regionally for greater efficiency and potential cost savings.