Community Development intro

Community Development

Helping all communities prosper in northeastern Illinois is at the center of what we do. Persistent disparities however, continue to exist along the lines of race and income that produce unequal outcomes. These inequities impact health, employment, education, public safety and many other elements of community. Inequity also fundamentally threatens the success and implementation of our regional principles, including inclusive growth. Our planning decisions and investments must prioritize equity and improving the lives of residents and families of all backgrounds and in every part of our region, particularly those that have historically been left behind. ON TO 2050 emphasizes the importance of investing in disinvested communities and connecting residents with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in the regional economy of the future.


  • The benefits of the region's investments and policies will be equitably distributed to all parts of the region and among all residents, with special emphasis on populations that have been overlooked.
  • Decisions affecting community residents will be made with a high degree of collaborative leadership and public participation, regardless of age, gender, income, race, ethnicity, culture, language, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or disability status.

ON TO 2050’s inclusive growth principle shows that regions that offer economic opportunity for residents regardless of race, income, or background enjoy longer, stronger periods of prosperity and fewer, shorter periods of economic stagnation. Metropolitan Chicago cannot be successful when so many people and places cannot share in our regional prosperity. We have a great deal of work to do in this area. In addition to the economic disparities that continue to exist, the Chicago region is particularly impacted by racial segregation and systems that have historically left some communities out of full participation. For a stronger, more equitable future, our region needs to ensure every resident and community has the ability to fully contribute to and benefit from our economy. ON TO 2050 recommends taking deliberate steps region-wide to dismantle systems of exclusion and seeks ways to work together toward an inclusive Chicago region. We must continue to work with our community partners to make sure no part of our region is overlooked from investment and prosperity – not just for the benefit of certain communities, but for the good of us all.