Livability is primarily created at the local level through planning and development decisions made by communities, developers, and individuals. CMAP upholds the long-standing Illinois tradition of local control over zoning and land use decisions. Yet, within that framework exist many opportunities for collaborative planning across jurisdictions in pursuit of common goals.
CMAP supports reinvesting in existing communities, pursuing opportunities for more compact, walkable, and mixed-use development, and providing a range of housing options. Local land use decisions should focus on the interrelationship of transportation, land use, and housing, with an emphasis on development patterns that support the use of public transit. With local authority comes the responsibility to carefully assess broader impacts on neighboring communities and on the region as a whole.
Achieving livability will take proactive planning by local governments that recognize the potential regional impacts of even seemingly small local decisions. One of ON TO 2050's highest priorities is to promote comprehensive planning in communities across our seven counties—including the development of comprehensive plans, consistent ordinances and regulations, and trained decision makers.
ON TO 2050 also recommends supporting local planning through grant programs, infrastructure investments to implement plans, technical assistance, and collaboration between municipalities on shared priorities. CMAP provides a number of resources that help local governments to strengthen each of these.
Technical assistance program
With funding from a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), CMAP launched the technical assistance program, which involves providing planning, and in some cases financial, assistance to communities across the Chicago metropolitan region to undertake planning projects that advance the principles of ON TO 2050.
CMAP has initiated over 200 local projects with local governments, nonprofits, and intergovernmental organizations to address local issues at the intersection of transportation, land use, and housing, including the natural environment, economic growth, and community development. Common projects include updating municipal comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances, developing sub-area plans for specific commercial or industrial districts, sustainability plans, and parking management planning.
Local ordinances and toolkits
CMAP created sample local ordinances and toolkits that help municipalities to develop policies that support the goals of ON TO 2050. These resources guide communities through the process from study to approval on a variety of topics such as parking regulation and form-based codes.
Fiscal policy and land use planning
Tax policies and economic development incentives also play a role in driving local land use decisions. It is important for the region to have the best information possible about how our fiscal policies drive land use decisions, as well as the resulting impacts on the regional economy, jobs, and principles of livability as addressed in ON TO 2050. CMAP creates reports on these and other policy issues that affect land use.