A Plan for Pilsen and Little Village

Nov 14, 2013

A Plan for Pilsen and Little Village

Update: The draft Action Plan is now available for public comment. Please submit comments to Michael Berkshire through July 18, in advance of the Plan Commission meeting on July 20.

Pilsen and Little Village are thriving urban neighborhoods located in Chicago's Lower West Side and South Lawndale community areas, respectively. While each neighborhood has its own unique history, culture, assets, and challenges, the two areas also share many similarities. Both play important roles as vibrant centers of Mexican life in Chicago and the region. Both serve as important job centers and have a significant portion of their land designated for industrial activity. And both share similar goals for the future. Among others, these include: improving and expanding access to parks and open space; expanding housing options; and promoting sustainable business and retail development.

Pilsen and Little Village each have powerful networks of community-based organizations with long histories of working towards these goals. The City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is leading an effort to draft a land use plan that will build upon each community's valuable assets, as well as past and current planning efforts, in order to complement and continue this work. Like DPD's previous Land Use Strategy, the Pilsen - Little Village Land Use Plan will explore issues and opportunities for the key land uses found in both communities, including parks and open spaces, and housing, commercial, and industrial uses. It will establish goals, identify and prioritize opportunity areas, and outline strategies to achieve these goals. The Plan will be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission for adoption and will help guide decisions and public and private investments for years to come. CMAP is providing staff planning support through its Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program and has contracted with the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council (PNCC) and Enlace Chicago to provide community outreach and engagement assistance in Pilsen and Little Village.

The planning process includes three phases. The first phase will involve an analysis of the existing conditions within the communities using information gathered through review of previous studies, collection of maps and data, and stakeholder interviews. Phase two will focus on setting goals and priorities based on findings from community workshops and the phase one analysis. The final phase will build on previous phases to develop recommended policies and create the Plan.

Public Engagement

The public will have several opportunities to participate in the planning process. The City of Chicago, in partnership with CMAP, will embark on a series of outreach meetings with community leaders, business representatives, and residents from Pilsen and Little Village to solicit and incorporate local input to the planning process. We invite you to participate in the upcoming events.

Community Workshops
Kick-off meetings for the Pilsen - Little Village Plan were held in November 2013. Residents and stakeholders gathered at Dvorak Park on Monday, November 18, for a Pilsen workshop, and at Little Village Academy on Tuesday, November 19 for a Little Village workshop. The meetings focused on parks, open space, and green infrastructure.

In June 2015, two sets of community workshops were held in the neighborhoods. The first set, which focused on housing, retail, and historic preservation, were held on June 16th (Pilsen) and on June 18th (Little Village). The second set of workshops, which focused on industrial areas and open space, were held on June 23rd (Pilsen) and on June 25th (Little Village).

In June 2016, Draft Plan Open Houses were held in the neighborhoods. At the Open Houses, residents and stakeholders had the opportunity to provide input on and learn more about the draft goals and strategies. The Pilsen Open House took place on June 23rd, 2016 at Dvorak Park, and the Little Village Open House took place on June 29th, 2016 at La Villita Community Church. 


Michael Berkshire, City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (Michael.Berkshire@cityofchicago.org or 312-744-0363)

Ricardo Lopez, CMAP Associate Planner (rlopez@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8766)

Fanny Diego Alvarez, Enlace Chicago (fdiego@enlacechicago.org or 773-418-5629)

Teresa Fraga, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council (tfraga@me.com or 312-666-2663)


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