Update: The Integrating Green Infrastructure ON TO 2050 strategy paper is now available, and your feedback is welcome. Please take a moment to answer the questions below or send your thoughts, ideas, or questions to ONTO2050@cmap.illinois.gov.
Green infrastructure improves the region's quality of life.
At all scales, green infrastructure can provide many important ecological and social benefits. It can improve environmental and public health outcomes by filtering air and water pollutants, building resilience to climate change, and managing stormwater. By providing important habitats for native plants and wildlife, green infrastructure can protect our region's biodiversity, and it can be designed with trails or other amenities to activate public spaces through recreation and placemaking.
Green infrastructure requires different considerations depending on the scale.
Green infrastructure provides many critical functions that maintain the health and vitality of communities, and it is often defined according to scale.
At the regional scale, "core landscapes" (interconnected natural areas) make up the region's green infrastructure network. At the community level, smaller parks and open spaces are provided by municipalities and park districts primarily for recreational and aesthetic benefits. At a site scale, green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) use vegetation, soils, and natural processes to mimic natural hydrological functions. Together, regional, community, and site scale green infrastructure can provide places for recreation, habitats for native flora and fauna, air pollutant filtration, flood reduction, and groundwater recharge — among other important functions.
ON TO 2050 can build off of existing green infrastructure policies.
The policies in GO TO 2040 broadly covered the application of green infrastructure at different scales. ON TO 2050 presents an opportunity to further explore the intersections between these intertwined policies, as well as the potential co-benefits of various green infrastructure strategies. A logical expansion for the next plan is to better connect recommendations for the region-wide green infrastructure network with site-scale green infrastructure practices that are more applicable to all community contexts. A refined approach to green infrastructure recommendations can provide an approach for the spectrum of contexts — from rural to urban — found throughout northeastern Illinois and emphasize the multiple potential benefits of green infrastructure in our communities.
This is your plan.
Continual input by stakeholder organizations and individuals was vital to the development and implementation of GO TO 2040. From now through the next plan's adoption in October 2018 and beyond, CMAP will be engaging a broad cross-section of partners from across the region.