A Community Vision Plan for Chinatown

Nov 11, 2013

A Community Vision Plan for Chinatown


UPDATE: The Chinatown Community Vision Plan has been selected by the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association to receive the 2016 Strategic Plan Award

The Chinatown Community Vision Plan was approved by the community in a signing ceremony on May 28, 2015. Please read the final plan:
High resolution version
Low resolution version

In 1912, the Chinatown community moved from the southern edge of downtown Chicago to its present location centered at Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue. The neighborhood has developed its own unique sense of place over the years, but Chinatown has never had its own plan to guide development in ways that align with community priorities.

The Chinatown Community Vision Plan will provide a framework for future decision making that aligns with long-term goals, and is the result of nearly two years of work led by the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC), 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) with the Chinatown community's residents, business owners, workers, and community leaders.

Planning Study Area

The boundaries of the study area for the Community Vision Plan are 18th Street to the north, the Stevenson Expressway to the south, Clark Street to the east, and the Chicago River to the west. Plan recommendations tied to place fall within this study area, which represents the commercial core of the Chinatown neighborhood. They also reflect the broader context of greater Chinatown, a much larger area that includes many adjacent neighborhoods, which are home to significant numbers of Asian-American residents (many of whom are Chinese American). 

Public Engagement

Public engagement—particularly for traditionally underrepresented populations—is an important element of a sound and comprehensive planning process. To give Chinatown residents and stakeholders a voice in the development of the Community Vision Plan, the project employed various different outreach tools and methods to better understand and address the needs of the community as a whole.

The Community Outreach Memorandum (available in the Related Documents section below) highlights the outreach efforts undertaken throughout the main public engagement phase of the planning process, and presents key findings of existing issues, challenges, and opportunities in Chinatown that were identified through these activities.

Community Town Hall Meetings
A community town hall meeting was held on December 9, 2013 at Pui Tak Center to share the key findings of the public engagement process and gather more detailed input from the Chinatown community to help guide the development of the plan.

Another community town hall meeting was held on December 8, 2014 at the Pui Tak Center to present the draft recommendations of the Community Vision Plan to the entire Chinatown community for its review.

News Coverage


  • Project initiation (April, 2013)
  • Community outreach and engagement (April – December, 2013)
  • Study of existing conditions and opportunities (April – October, 2013)
  • Preliminary recommendations (January – February, 2014)
  • Development of draft Community Vision Plan (March – June, 2014)
  • Plan completion and approval (July, 2014 – May, 2015)
  • Community implementation of plan (begins May, 2015)


C.W. Chan, CBCAC Chairman (cwchanpls@yahoo.com or 312-933-7373)

Stephen Ostrander, CMAP Senior Planner (sostrander@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8696)

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Chinatown Community Vision Plan - High Resolution Version

Chinatown Community Vision Plan - Low Resolution Version

Chinatown Community Vision Draft Plan

Executive Summary of Draft Plan in English

Executive Summary of Draft Plan in Simplified Chinese

Executive Summary of Draft Plan in Traditional Chinese

Chinatown Community Vision Plan Existing Conditions Report and Community Outreach Summary