The region’s housing supply must adapt to meet global shifts and local needs that include an aging population, increasing diversity, and changing family living patterns. As demographics change, so does the type and location of the housing that people want. Research found that the market can be impeded from meeting such changes in demand by various barriers, including both the community's lack of alignment between planning, zoning, and approvals processes and the extent to which its residents accept proposed housing choices.
[GRAPHIC TO COME: Informational graphic showing barriers to housing choice.]
The current lack of sufficient housing options makes our residential market vulnerable to shifting demand, contributes to concentrated poverty, and hurts the health of residents. The disconnect between the housing that people want and what is available undermines the regional economy. In the CMAP region, as in many others across the nation, minorities and people in poverty are often concentrated geographically. According to recent analysis by the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Chicago region has the fifth highest combination of racial and economic segregation among the 100 largest U.S. regions. This combined segregation by race and income is highly detrimental to residents within these geographies and to the entire region because of negative consequences associated with concentrated poverty. For example, health researchers have found that where people are born, grow up, live, work, and age has a major impact on physical, mental, and behavioral health outcomes. To compete in the future, metropolitan Chicago must make full use of all its resources, especially its residents. Yet because our region struggles to build a sufficient amount of good, affordable housing with access to employment and services, the deleterious effects of concentrated poverty continue. To name just one outcome, the fact that residents of EDAs are less likely to be homeowners limits the region's potential for wealth building, which in turn limits the financial resources available for local and regional initiatives.
By 2050, residents in our region should have the ability to find a good, affordable home that fits each household’s preferences, including proximity to jobs, transportation, and other amenities, throughout all stages of life. Today, transportation costs are rising and commutes for low income residents are long. ON TO 2050 sets a goal of limiting housing and transportation costs for low and moderate-income residents, to improve housing choice and quality of life. To reach that vision, stakeholders throughout the region must address barriers that prevent the market from meeting the demand of current and future residents. Housing choice will help make our residential stock resilient in the face of changing demand, help reduce concentrated poverty, and improve affordability for all residents, including low- and moderate-income households.
The following describes strategies and associated action to implement this recommendation.